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This collection of strange stories and weird traditions 
has not been compiled with a view of creating un frisson 
nouveau, bnt to serve as a guide to the geography of 
Ghostland a handbook to the Haunted Houses of 
Great Britain. Many historic tales of apparitions 
and supernaturally disturbed dwellings are imbedded 
in British literature ; are frequently alluded to in 
journalistic and other publications, and are known to 
everybody by name, but by name only. Most people 
have heard of "The Demon of Tedworth," "The 
Lord Lyttleton Ghost Story/' and other celebrated 
narratives of the uncanny kind, but it is rare to find 
anyone able to furnish particulars of them : to 
enable them to do this is the raison d'etre of this 

The number of dwellings reputed to be haunted 
is much greater than is commonly supposed ; and 


although steam-engines and speculative builders are 
rapidly diminishing these lingering relics of the past, 
Dr. Mackay's words, in his Extraordinary Popular 
Delusions, anent this theme, are still applicable : 
" Who has not either seen or heard of some house, 
shut up and uninhabitable, fallen into decay, and 
looking dusty and dreary, whence, at midnight, 
strange sounds have been heard to issue the rattling 
of chains, and the groaning of perturbed spirits ? a 
house that people have thought it unsafe to pass after 
dark, and which has remained for years without a 
tenant, and which no tenant would occupy even were 
he paid to do so ? There are hundreds of such houses 
in England at the present day .... which are 
marked with the mark of fear places for the timid 
to avoid, and the pious to bless themselves at, and ask 
protection from, as they pass the abodes of ghosts 
and evil spirits. There are many such houses in 
London; and if any vain boaster of the march of 
intellect would but take the trouble to find them out 
and count them, he would be convinced that intellect 
must yet make some enormous strides before such old 
superstitions can be eradicated." 

Although Dr. Mackay may not have exaggerated 
the number of places having the discredit of being 


haunted, particulars of the manner of the haunting are 
generally difficult to obtain : nearly every ancient 
castle, or time-worn hall, bears the reputation of being 
thus troubled, but in a very large majority of such 
cases no evidence is forthcoming not even the ghost 
of a tradition ! Guide-books, topographical works, 
even the loquacious custodian where there is one 
of the building, fail to furnish any details ; were it 
otherwise, instead of one modest volume a many-tomed 
cyclopedia would be necessary. 

To mention here separately the many sources whence 
the information contained in this compilation has been 
drawn would be impossible, and as in most instances 
the authority for each story has been specified under 
its respective heading, would be needless ; but still 
thanks are due and are hereby tendered to those 
authors whose books have been made use of, and to 
those noblemen and gentlemen who have aided the 
work by their friendly information. 

In conclusion, it should be remarked that autnors 
and correspondents having, as far as possible, been 
allowed to tell their tales after their own fashion, the 
editor does not hold himself responsible for their 
opinions. Had he ever entertained any belief what- 
ever in supernatural manifestations as evidently many 


of his authorities do the compilation of this work 
would have effectually cured him of such mental weak- 
ness; but, it must be added, no story has been 
included the incidents of which have been proved to 
have been the result of palpable deception, or for 
which any natural explanation has been found. 
Trusting that his psychomanteum will exercise no 
worse effect upon his readers than it has had upon 
its compiler, he leaves it to their judgment. 








Cheshunt - 





- 323 

Clegg Hall 



t-Ashley Hull 

- 326 

Combermere Abbey 



Bagley House - 


- 334 

Corby Castle 



Bair Hall 



vCortachy Castle 






Creslow Manor House 


Beaminster School 


- 10 

Cumnor Hall 



* Berry Pomeroy Castle 

- 336 

* Daintree - 



Bettiscombe House 


- 341 

De Burgh Castle 



Birchen Bower 


- 345 

V-Denton Hall 



Bisham Abbey 


- 13 

Dobb Park Lodge 





- 352 

Dosmery Pool - 



Black Heddon - 


- 355 




Blenkinsopp Castle 


- 360 

Edge Hill - 





- 367 


Boiling Hall 


- 375 

^ Canongate 



Botathen - 


- 15 

Gillespie Hospital 





- 20 

Mary King's Close 



Bristol the Vicar a 



Trinity - 



Brundon Hall - 

- 378 

Eastbury House 



Burton Agnes Hall 


- 380 

Enfield Chace - 



^ Calgarth - 


- 392 

-'Epsom Pitt Place 



V Calverley Hall - 


- 394 

1 Epworth Parsonage 





- 24 




Cambridge University 

- 29 

Eton - 





- 32 

Ewshott House - 



Cawood Castle - 


- 33 

* Glamis Castle - 



Chartley Park - 


- 401 

^Glamis Castle - 



Ched worth 


- 36 

" Glasgow ( The Hell Club " 

) 101 



rji> id. 


Grayrigg Hall - 




Peele Castle 




Guildford Grammar 






Hackwood House 




Plymouth - 



Hampton Court 








Hand, The Dead (yi 

de Ince 

Powis Castle 




Hall) - 




Rainham - 








Ramhurst Manor House 







Rochester - 




Heath Old Hall - 




Roslin Chapel - 



Hereford - 




Rushen Castle - 




Henhow Cottage 




Samlesbury Hall 




Hilton Castle 




Sampford Peverell 




A ^ Hinton Ampner Manor H< 

mse 481 





Holland House - 




Scorrier House - 




' InceHall - 








Jedburgh Castle 




Skipsea Castle - 




Lambton Castle 




VSmithills Hall - 




Littlecot House - 




Souldern Rectory 






l^Souter Fell 




Argyle Rooms 




Spedlin's Tower 




Broad Street - 




Strachur Manse 




Brook Street - 




Swinst}' - Hall 




James Street, W.C. 



Sykes Lumb Farm 




St. James's Palace 



Taunton - 




St. James Street 




Tedworth - 




Southampton Fields 



Tregeagle (vide Dosmerv 

* The Hammums 




Pool) - 




The Tower - 








Lostock Tower - 




Tunstead Farm 




Lowther Hall - 




Ullswater - 








Waddow Hall - 




Mannington Hall 




Waltham - 




Milford Haven - 




Warblington Parsonage 







Wardley Hall - 








Watton Abbey - 




Newstead Abbey 








North Shields Stevenson 

Westminster King 



Street - 




Willington Mill - 








Windsor Castle - 
Woodhouselee - 




Ottery . - 







Oulton High House 




Wyecoller Hall - 




Oxford University- 


Yorkshire. Hall 



College - 







Lord Brougham 
The Rev. T. A. Buckley 
Caisho Burroughs 
X John Donne 



"oir John Sherbrooke 
General Wynyard - 
The Luminous Woman 
The Result of a Curse 








- 609 



Bowland - 

- 612 

"Wadebridge - 


Clifton Park - 

- 615 

Captain Blomberg's Appari- 

/ Edinburgh 

- 617 



Edinburgh Castle 

- 622 

Smellie and Greenlaw 



- 624 


Cumnor Hall 
Bisham Abbey 
Corby Castle 
Glamis Castle 
Hackwood House - 
Hilton Castle 
Lambton Castle - 
Lowther Hall 
New stead Abbey - 
Peele Castle 
Powis Castle 
Rushen Castle 
Sbedlin's Tower - 
Berry Pomeroy Castle 
Bolling Hall 
Ince Hall - 
Roslin Chapel 



p. 13 



































In North Britain haunted castles, and hereditary ap- 
paritions, appear to have lingered more persistently 
and to have had longer leases of existence, than they 
have had in the less romanticallv inclined southern 
portion of the island. One of the roost noted Scotch 
spirits attendant upon a certain family is that known 
as " Pearlin Jean," so called from a species of lace 
made of thread with which this spectre is bedecked. 
"Pearlin Jean's " continuous and demonstrative annoy- 
ances at Allanbank a seat of the Stuarts, a family of 
Scotch baronets are so thoroughly believed in and 
widely known, that it has been found difficult to obtain 
a tern nt for the place. 



Mr. Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, the antiquary, has 
furnished the following explanatory account of Pearlin 
Jean's hauntings at Allanbank, together with the cause 
of her doing so. 

" In my youth," says Mr. Sharpe, " Pearlin Jean 
was the most remarkable ghost in Scotland, and my 
terror when a child. Our old nurse, Jenny Blackadder, 
had been a servant at Allanbank, and often heard her 
rustling in silks up and down stairs, and along the 
passages. She never saw her ; but her husband did. 

" She was a French woman, whom the first baronet 
of Allanbank,* then Mr. Stuart, met with at Paris, 
during his tour to finish his education as a gentleman. 
Some people said she was a nun ; in which case she 
must have been a sister of Charity, as she appears not 
to have been confined to a cloister. After some time, 
young Stuart either became faithless to the lady or was 
suddenly recalled to Scotland by his parents, and had 
got into his carriage at the door of the hotel, when his 
Dido unexpectedly made her appearance, and stepping 
on the fore-wheel of the coach to address her lover, he 
ordered the postilion to drive on ; the consequence of 
which was that the lady fell, and one of the wheels 
going over her forehead, killed her. 

"In a dusky autumnal evening, when Mr. Stuart 
drove under the arched gateway of Allanbank, he per- 
ceived Pearlin Jean sitting on the top, her head and 
shoulders covered with blood. 

* Sir "Robert Stuart was created a baronet in the year 1C37. 


After this, for many years, the house was haunted; 
doors shut and opened with great noise at midnight* 
the rustling of silks and pattering of high-heeled shoes 
were heard in bed-rooms and passages. Nurse Jenny 
said there were seven ministers called in together at one 
time to lay the spirit ; ' but they did no mickle good, 
my dear.' 

" The picture of the ghost was hung between those 
of her lover and his lady, and kept her comparatively 
quiet ; but when taken away, she became worse-natured 
than ever. This portrait was in the present Sir J. G.'s 
possession. I am unwilling to record its fate. 

" The ghost was designated Pearlin, from always 
wearing a great quantity of that sort of lace. 

"Nurse Jenny told me that when Thomas Blackadder 
was her lover (I remember Thomas very well), they 
made an assignation to meet one moonlight night in 
the orchard at Allanbank. True Thomas, of course, 
was the first comer ; and seeing a female figure in a 
light-coloured dress, at some distance, he ran forward 
with open arms to embrace his Jenny ; when lo, and 
behold ! as he neared the spot where the figure stood, 
it vanished ; and presently he saw it again at the very 
end of the orchard, a considerable way off. Thomas 
went home in a fright ; but Jenny, who came last, and 
saw nothing, forgave him, and they were married. 

" Many years after this, about the year 1790, two 
ladies paid a visit at Allanbank I think the house was 
then let and passed the night there. They had never 
heard a word about the ghost ; but they were disturbed 


the whole night with something walking backwards and 
forwards in their bed-chamber. This I had from the 
best authority." 

To this account may be added that a housekeeper, 
called Betty Norrie, who, in more recent times, lived 
many years at Allanbank, positively averred that she, 
and many other persons, had frequently seen Pearlin 
Jean ; and, moreover, stated that they were so used to 
her as to be no longer alarmed at the noises she made. 


The communicator of the story hereafter detailed was 
described in Notes and Queries as a well-informed 
young lady, and as one who firmly believed what she 
stated. Moreover, it was further remarked that, pre- 
vious to her seeing the apparition she tells of, she had 
heard nothing whatever of any story or legend that 
could have put it into her mind or have caused her to 
dream of it ; whilst the corroborative evidence of her 
hostess and her household, would put all idea of a 
dream or hallucination out of the question. In conse- 
quence of the correspondence this story called forth, a 
contributor to Notes and Queries made it fairly evident 
that the "Bair Hall" visited by the narrator was 
identical with Torisholme Hall, the property of J. Lodge 
of Bare, in the county of Lancashire, Esquire. 




A short time ago," states the reiater of this story, 
1 went "with a friend to pay a visit to a family in the 
neighbourhood of Lancaster. We were very cordially 
received at Bair Hall by the hostess, who assigned to 
our use a spacious bed-room with old-fashioned furni- 
ture, and we noticed particularly an old press. My 
companion and myself retired to bed, and enjoyed a good 
night's rest. I happened to awaken at about five o'clock, 
it being a bright summer's morning, broad daylight, and, 
to my great surprise, saw distinctly within a few feet 
of the old-fashioned bed, an old gentleman seated in 
an arm-chair, earnestly gazing at me with a pleasant 
expression of countenance. I was not alarmed, but 
surprised, as I had locked the door when I went to 
bed, and, considering it a mental delusion, I closed my 
eyes for a moment and looked again ; in the interval 
the old gentleman had moved his chair, and placed its 
back against the chamber door ; he was seated in it as 
before, and gazed at me with rather an amused ex- 
pression. I turned round to look at my companion ; 
she was fast asleep. I immediately awoke her, and 
requested her to look across the room at the door. 
She could see nothing, neither could I ; the old gentle- 
man had gone. When I told her what I had seen, 
she got out uf bed in haste ; we both quitted the room 
in great alarm, and went to the bed-room of our 
hostess, who admitted us, and there we remained until 
it was time to dress. 

" The lady asked us if we had opened the old press 
wardrobe; it appeared we had. * Oh ! ' said she, 'it 


is only James Bair, my uncle (or great-uncle) ; he does 
not like anyone but myself to examine his ancient 
clothes, or interfere with his press. He frequently joins 
me in the house, and some of the other members of 
the family also, but they don't like him. With me he 
often converses/ 

" I found," concludes the narrator, who does not 
appear to have had any further encounter with James 
Bair's apparition, " if any of the roems or closets were 
locked at night they were found open in the morning, 
and our hostess thought nothing of it." 


Dr Lee, in his work on Glimpses of the Supernatural, 
furnishes a curious account of the discovery of hidden 
treasure by the agency of an apparition. He does not 
appear to entertain the slightest doubts as to the cor- 
Tectness of his information in this case, and indeed 
declares, as will be seen later on by the reader, that the 
circumstances recorded were completely verified. 

The events to which Dr. Lee refers are stated to have 
occurred at Barby, a village of between six and seven 
hundred inhabitants, in the county of Northampton, 
situated about eight miles from Rugby, and a little 
more than five miles from Daventry. A house in this 
small village was, until recently, reputed to be haunted- 


and this in the following manner, according to the 
authority above referred to. 

"An old woman of the name of Webb, a native of 
the place, and above the usual height, died on March 
3rd, 1851, at 2 a.m., aged sixty-seven. Late in life she 
had married a man of some means, who having pre- 
deceased her, left her his property, so that she was in 
good circumstances. Her chief and notorious charac- 
teristic, however, was excessive penuriousness, she being 
remarkably miserly in her habits; and it is believed by 
manv in the village that she thus shortened her days. 
Two of her neighbours, women of the names of Griffin 
and Holding, nursed her during her last illness, and her 
nephew, Mr. Hart, a farmer in the village, supplied 
her temporal needs ; in whose favour she had made 
a will, by which she bequeathed to him all her pos- 

"About a month after the funeral, Mrs. Holding, 
who with her uncle lived next door to the house of the 
deceased (which had been entirely shut up since the 
funeral), was alarmed and astonished at hearing loud 
and heavy thumps against the partition wall, and espe- 
cially against the door of a cupboard in the room wall, 
while other strange noises, like the dragging of furniture 
about the rooms, though all the furniture had been 
removed, and the house was empty. These were chiefly 
heard about two o'clock in the morning. 

"Early in the month of April a family of the name 
of Accleton, much needing a residence, took the deceased 
woman's house the only one in the village vacant 


and bringing their goods and chattels, proceeded to 
inhabit it. The husband was often absent, but he and 
his wife occupied the room in which Airs. Webb had 
died, while their daughter, a girl of about ten years of 
age, slept in a small bed in the corner. Violent noises 
in the night were heard about two o'clock thumps, 
tramps, and tremendous crashes, as if all the furniture 
had been collected together and then violently banged 
on to the floor. One night at 2 a.m. the parents were 
suddenly awakened by the violent screams of the child. 
' Mother ! mother ! there *s a tall woman standing by 
my bed, a shaking her head at me ! ' The parents could 
see nothing, so did their best to quiet and compose the 
child. At four o'clock they were awakened by the 
child's screams, for she had seen the woman again ; in 
fact, she appeared to her no less than seven times on 
seven subsequent nights. 

"Mrs. Accleton, during her husband's absence, 
having engaged her mother to sleep with her one night, 
was suddenly aroused at the same hour of two by a 
strange and unusual light in her room. Looking up, 
she saw quite plainly the spirit of Mrs. Webb, which 
moved towards her with a gentle appealing manner, as 
though it would have said ' Speak ! speak ! ' 

" This spectre appeared likewise to a Mrs. Rad- 
Dournc, a Mrs. Griffiths, and a Mrs. Holding. They 
assert that luminous balls of light seemed to go up and 
towards a trap-door in the ceiling which led to the roof 
of the cottage. Each person who saw it testified like- 
wse to hearing a low, unearthly moaning noise, ' strange 


and unnatural like,' but somewhat similar in character 
to the moans of the woman in her death-agony. 

"The subject -was of course discussed, and Mrs 
Accleton suggested that its appearance might not im- 
possibly be connected with the existence of money 
hoarded up in the roof an idea which may have arisen 
from the miserly habits of the dead woman. The hint 
having been given to and taken by her nephew, Mr. 
Hart, the farmer, he proceeded to the house, ami witli 
Mrs. Accleton's personal help, made a search. The loft 
above was totally dark, but by the aid of a candle there 
was discovered, firstly, a bundle of old writings, old 
deeds, as they turned out to be, and afterwards a large 
bag of gold and bank-notes, out of which the nephew 
took a handful of sovereigns and exhibited them to 
Mrs. Accleton. But the knockings, moanings, strange 
noises, and other disturbances, did not cease upon this 
discovery. They did cease, however, when Mr. Hart, 
having found that certain debts were owing bv her, 
carefully and scrupulously paid them. So much for the 
account of the haunted house at Barby." 

The circumstances detailed were most carefully in- 
vestigated by Sir Charles Isham and other gentlemen 
in the neighbourhood, and the conclusion they arrived 
at was that the above facts were completely verified by 
the evidence laid before them. 



In 1774 the Gentleman's Magazine printed the follow- 
ing narrative, prefacing it with these words : " The 
following very singular story eomes well authenticated." 
In many respects the story may be deemed unique in 
the history of the supernatural. The apparition appears 
m broad daylight, and is seen by five children, one of 
whom did not even know the individual it represented 
when alive, and yet proved its identity by a wonderful 
piece of circumstantial evidence. The intense pathos 
of the unfortunate and evidently -murdered lad, re- 
appearing amid the scenes of his childish occupations, 
and where he had been wont to play with those bovs 
who now could only look upon him as a passing 
shadow, is most suggestive. 

The school of Beminster (Beaminster), says the 
account, is held in a gallery of the parish church to 
which there is a distinct entrance from the churchyard. 
Every Saturday the key of it is delivered to the clerk 
of the parish by one or the other of the schoolboys. 
On Saturday, June the 22nd, 1728, the master had 
dismissed his lads as usual. Twelve of them loitered 
about in the churchyard to play at ball. It was just 
about noon. After a short space, four of the lads 
returned into the school to search for old pens, and 
were startled bv hearing in the church a noise which 
they described as that produced by striking a brass pan. 
They immediately ran to their playfellows in the church- 


yard and told them of it. They came to the conclusion 
that someone was in hiding in order to frighten them, 
and they all went back into the school together to 
discover who it was, but could not find anyone. As 
they were returning to their sport, on the stairs that 
lead into the churchyard, they heard in the school a 
second noise. Terrified at that, they ran round the 
church, and when at the belfry, or west door, they 
heard what seemed to them the sound of someone 
preaching, which was succeeded by another sound as of 
a congregation singing psalms. Both of these noises 
lasted but a short time. 

With the thoughtlessness of youth the lads soon 
resumed their sport, and after a short time one of them 
went into the school for his book, when he saw a coffin 
lying on one of the benches, only about six feet away. 
Surprised at this, he ran off and told his playfellows 
what he had seen, on which they all thronged to the 
school- door, whence^/z^ of the twelve saw the appari- 
tion of John Daniel, who had been dead more than 
seven weeks, sitting at some distance from the coffin, 
further in the school. All of them saw the coffin, and 
it was conjectured that why all did not see the apparition 
was because the door was so narrow they could not all 
approach it together. The first who knew it to be the 
apparition of their deceased schoolfellow was Daniel's 
half-brother, and he, on seeing it, cried out, " There 
sits our John, with just such a coat on as I have " 
(in the lifetime of the deceased boy the half-brothers 
were usually clothed alike)^ " with a pen in his hand, 


and a book before him, and a coffin by him. I '11 throw 
a stone at him." The other boys tried to stop him, but 
he threw the stone, as he did so saying, " Take it ! " 
upon which the apparition immediately disappeared. 

The immense excitement this created in the place 
may be imagined. The lads, whose ages ranged between 
nine and twelve, were all magisterially examined by 
Colonel Broadrep, and all agreed in their relation of the 
circumstances, even to the hinges of the coffin ; whilst 
their description of the coffin tallied exactly with that 
the deceased lad had been buried in. One of the lads 
who saw the apparition was quite twelve years of age, 
and was a quiet sedate lad for his age ; he entered the 
school after the deceased boy had left it (on account of 
illness about a fortnight before his death), and had 
never seen Daniel in his life-time. This lad, on exami- 
nation, gave an exact description of the person of the 
deceased, and took especial notice of one thing about 
the apparition which the other boys had not observed, 
and that was, it had a white cloth or rag bound round 
one of its hands. The woman who laid out the corpse 
of John Daniel for interment deposed on oath that she 
took such a white cloth from its hand, it having been 
put on the boy's hand (he being lame of it) about four 
days or so before his death. 

Daniel's body had been found in an obscure place in 
a field, at about a furlong distant from his mother's 
house, and had been buried without an inquest, in 
consequence of his mother alleging that the lad had 
been subject to fits. After the appearance of the 


apparition the body was disinterred, a coroner's inquest 
held, and a verdict returned to the effect that the boy 
had been " strangled." This verdict appears to have 
been mainly arrived at in consequence of the depositions 
of two women " of good repute " that two days after 
the corpse was found they saw it, and discovered 
a " black list " round its neck ; and likewise of the 
joiner who put the body into the coffin, and who had an 
opportunity of observing it, as the shroud was not put 
on in the usual way, but was in two pieces, one laid 
under and the other over the body. A " chirurgeon " 
who gave evidence could not or would not positively 
affirm to the jury that there was any dislocation of the 
neck. So far as can be learnt, no steps were taken to 
bring anyone to justice on account of the suggested 
death bv violence ot the lad. 


Bisham Abbey, in Berkshire, was formerly the familv 
seat of the Hobbys, and about the first half of the 
sixteenth century was in possession of Sir Thomas 
Hobby, or Hoby, a man of no slight reputation for 
learning in those days. He married Elizabeth, the 
third daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke, who shared the 
general fame of her family for intellectual qualifications. 
When Sir Thomas went to France as ambassador for 


Queen Elizabeth his wife accompanied him, and on hia 
death abroad in 1566 Lady Hoby brought his body 
home and had it interred in a mortuary chapel at 
Bisham. Subsequently she married John, Lord Russell. 

By her first husband the Lady Hoby is said to 
have had a son who, when quite young, displayed the 
most intense antipathy to every kind of study ; and 
such was his repugnance to writing, that in his fits of 
obstinacy he would wilfully and deliberately blot his 
writing-books. This conduct enraged his mother, whose 
whole family were noted for their scholastic attainments, 
and who, like her three sisters, Lady Burleigh, Lady 
Bacon, and Lady Killigrew, was not only an excellent 
classical scholar, but was also married to a man of 
literary note, that she chastised the unfortunate lad 
with all the violence at that period permitted to, and 
practised by, parents on their children. She beat him, 
according to the old legend, again and again on the 
shoulders and head, and at last so severely and unmer- 
cifully that he died. 

It is commonly reported that, as a punishment for 
her unnatural cruelty, her spirit is doomed to haunt 
Bisham Abbey, the house where this cruel act of man- 
slaughter was perpetrated. Several persons have seen 
the apparition, the likeness of which, both as regards 
feature and dress, to a pale portrait of her ladyship in 
antique widow's weeds still remaining at Bisham, is said 
to be exact and life-like. She is reported to glide 
through a certain chamber, in the act of washing blood- 
stains from her hands, and on some occasions her 


apparition is said to have been seen in the grounds of 
the old mansion. 

A very remarkable occurrence in connection with this 
narrative took place some years ago, according to Dr. 
Lee, author of Glimpses of the Supernatural. " In 
taking down an old oak window-shutter of the latter 
part of the sixteenth century," he states that " a packet 
o antique copy-books of that period were discovered 
pushed into the wall between the joists of the skirting, 
and several of these books on which young Hobby s 
fiame was written were covered with blots, thus sup- 
porting the ordinary tradition." 


In the second volume of Hitchen's History of Cornwall 
is given in extenso a most remarkable account of an 
apparition that is believed to have appeared in that 
county. The scene of its appearance was a place called 
Botaden, or Botathen, in the parish of South Petherwin, 
near Launceston. Various authors have alluded to this 
marvellous, and, all things considered, inexplicable 
story ; but as Hitchen appears to have derived his 
account direct from one of the persons chiefly con- 
cerned that is to say, from the Rev. John Ruddle, 
Head Master of the Grammar School at Launceston, 
Vicar of Altemon, and Prebendary of Exeter, it is 
better to follow him. 


" Young Mr. Bligh," says Hitchen, " a lad of bright 
parts and of no common attainments, became on a 
sudden pensive, dejected, and melancholy. His friends, 
observing the change without being able to discover the 
cause, attributed his behaviour to laziness, an aversion 
to school, or to some other motive which they suspected 
he was ashamed to avow. He was, however, induced to 
inform his brother, after some time, that in a lield 
through which he passed to and from school " that is 
to say, to and from Launceston Grammar School, ot 
which, as has alreadv been observed, Mr. Raddle was 
Head Master "he was invariably met by the apparition 
of a woman, whom he personally knew while living, and 
who had been dead about eight years." Young Bligh 
is said to have been at this time about sixteen. " Ridi- 
cule, threats, and persuasions were alike used in vain 
by the family to induce him to dismiss these absurd 
ideas. Air. Ruddle was, however, sent for, to whom 
the lad ingenuously communicated the time, manner, 
and frequency of this appearance. It was in a field 
called Higher Broomfield. The apparition, he said, 
appeared dressed in female attire, met him two or three 
times while he passed through the field, glided hastily 
by him, but never spoke. He had thus been occasion- 
ally met about two months before he took any particular 
notice of it ; at length the appearance became more 
frequent, meeting him both morning and evening, but 
always in the same field, yet invariably moving out of 
the path when it came close to him. He often spoke, 
but could never get any reply. To avoid this unwel- 


come visitor he forsook the field, and went to school 
and returned from it through a lane, in which place, 
between the quarry pack and nursery, it always met 
him. Unable to disbelieve the evidence of his own 
senses, or to obtain credit with any of his family, he 
prevailed upon Mr. Ruddle to accompany him to the 

" i I arose,' says this clergyman, ' the next morning, 
and went with him. The field to which he led me I 
guessed to be about twenty acres, in an open country, 
and about three furlongs from any house. We went 
into the field, and had not gone a third part before the 
spectrum, in the shape of a woman, with all the cir- 
cumstances he had described the day before, so far as 
the suddenness of its appearance and transition would 
permit me to discover, passed by. 

"'I was a little surprised at it, and though I had 
taken up a firm resolution to speak to it, I had not the 
pow T er, nor durst I look back ; yet I took care not to 
show any fear to my pupil and guide, and therefore, 
telling him that I was satisfied in the truth of his state- 
ment we walked to the end of the field and returned 
nor did the ghost meet us that time but once. 

" * On the 27th July, 1665, I went to the haunted 
field bv mvself, and walked the breadth of it without 
any encounter. I then returned and took the other 
walk, and then the spectre appeared to me, much about 
the same place in which I saw it when the young 
gentleman was with me. It appeared to move swifter 
than before, and seemed to be about ten feet from me 



on my right hand, insomuch that I Lad not time to 
speak to it, as I had determined with myself beforehand. 
The evening of this day, the parents, the son, and 
myself, being in the chamber where I lay, I proposed to 
them our going all together to the place next morning. 
We accordingly met at the stile we had appointed; 
thence we all four walked into the field together. We had 
not gone more than half the field before the ghost made 
its appearance. It then came over the stile just before 
us, and moved with such rapidity that by the time we had 
gone six or seven steps it passed by. I immediately 
turned my head and ran after it, with the young man by 
my side. We saw it pass over the stile at which we 
entered, and no farther. I stepped upon the hedge at 
one place and the young man at another, but we could 
discern nothing ; whereas I do aver that the swiftes 
horse in England could not have conveyed himself out 
of sight in that short space of time. Two things I 
observed in this day's appearance : first, a spaniel dog, 
which had followed the company unregarded, barked 
and ran away as the spectrum passed by ; whence it is 
easy to conclude that it was not our fear or fancy which 
made the apparition. Secondly, the motion of the 
spectrum was not gradatim or by steps, or moving of 
the feet, but by a kind of gliding, as children upon ice, 
or as a boat down a river, which punctually answers the 
description the ancients give of the motion of these 
Lamures. This ocular evidence clearly convinced, but 
withal strangely affrighted, the old gentleman and his 
wife. They well knew this woman, Dorothy Durant, m 


her life-time ; were at her burial, and now plainly saw 
her features in this apparition. 

"' The next morning, being Thursday, I went very 
early by myself, and walked for about an hour's space 
in meditation and prayer in the field next adjoining. 
Soon after five I stepped over the stile into the haunted 
field, and had not gone above thirty or forty paces before 
the ghost appeared at the further stile. I spoke to it in 
some short sentences with a loud voice ; whereupon it 
approached me, but slowly, and when I came near 
it moved not. I spoke again, and it answered in a 
voice neither audible nor very intelligible. I was not 
in the least terrified, and therefore persisted until it 
spoke again and gave me satisfaction ; but the work 
could not be finished at this time. Whereupon the 
same evening, an hour after sunset, it met me again 
near the same place, and after a few words on each side 
it quietly vanished, and neither doth appear now, nor 
hath appeared since, nor ever will more to any man's 
disturbance. The discourse in the morning lasted 
about a quarter of an hour. 

" ' These things are true,' concludes the Eev. John 
Ruddle, ' and I know them to be so, with as much 
certainty as eyes and ears can give me; and until I can 
be persuaded that my senses all deceive me about their 
proper objects, and by that persuasion deprive me of the 
strongest inducement to believe the Christian religion, 
I must and will assert that the things contained in this 
paper are true.' " . 

2 * 



In the popular Memoirs of Mrs. Schimmelpenninck, the 
well-known authoress, a curious story connected with 
Bowood, the seat of the Marquis of Lansdowne, is 
related as having occurred whilst the celebrated Dr. 
Priestley was librarian there to Lord Shelburn. 

" One day," says Mrs. Schimmelpenninck, " Mr 
Petty, the precocious and gifted youth, sent for Dr. 
Priestley (Lord Shelburn, Mr. Petty's father, being 
then absent, I think, in London). When the doctor 
entered, Mr. Petty told him he had passed a very restless 
night, and had been much disturbed by uncomfortable 
dreams, which he wished to relate to Dr. Priestley, 
hoping that, by so doing, the painful impression would 
pass away. 

" He then said he dreamed he had been very unwell, 
when suddenly the whole household was in preparation 
for a journey. He was too ill to sit up, but was carried 
lying down in the carriage. His surprise was extreme 
in seeing carriage after carriage in an almost inter- 
minable procession. He was alone, and could not 
speak ; he could only gaze in astonishment. The pro- 
cession at last wound slowly off. After pursuing the 
road for many miles towards London, it at last appeared 
to stop at the door of a church. It was the church at 
High Wycombe, which is the burial-place of the Shel- 
burn family. It seemed, in Mr. Petty's dream, that he 
entered, or rather was carried into the church. He 

BO WOOD. 21 

looked back; he saw the procession which followed him 
was in black, and that the carriage from which he had 
been taken bore the semblance of a hearse. Here the 
dream ended, and he awoke. 

" Dr. Priestley told him that his dream was the result 
of a feverish cold, and that the impression would soon 
pass off. Nevertheless, he thought it best to 'send for 
the family medical attendant. The next day Mr. Petty 
was much better ; on the third day he was completely 
convalescent, so that the doctor permitted him to leave 
his room ; but as it was in January, and illness was 
prevalent, he desired him on no account to leave the 
house, and, with that precaution, took his leave. Late 
the next afternoon the medical man was returning from 
his other patients ; his road lay by the gates of 
Bowood, and as Lord Shelburn was away, he thought 
he might as well call to see Mr. Petty and enforce his 
directions. What was his surprise, when he had passed 
the lodge, to see the youth himself, without his hat, 
playfully running to meet him ! The doctor was much 
astonished, as it was bitterly cold and the ground 
covered with snow. He rode towards Mr. Petty to 
rebuke him for his imprudence, when suddenly he 
disappeared whither he knew not, but he seemeh 
instantaneously to vanish. The doctor thought it very 
extraordinary, but that probably the youth had not 
wished to be found transgressing orders, and he rode 
on to the house. There he learnt that Mr. Petty had 
just expired. " 



In 1846 certain strange doings were reported to be 
going on in an ancient residence in Bristol. The papers 
found the matter exciting such interest that they felt 
bound to notice it, but did so in a half-serious, half- 
sarcastic spirit, as the following excerpt from the Bristol 
Times will show. Under the heading of " A Ghost at 
Bristol," the journal named made this statement: 

"We have this week a ghost story to relate. Yes, a 
real ghost story, and a ghost story without, as yet, any 
clue to its elucidation. After the dissolution of the 
Calendars, their ancient residence, adjoining and almost 
forming a part of All Saints' Church, Bristol, was 
converted into a vicarage-house, and it is still (in 1846) 
called by that name, though the incumbents have for 
many years ceased to reside there. The present occu- 
pants are Mr. and Mrs. Jones, the sexton and sextoness 
of the church, and one or two lodgers; and it is to the 
former and their servant-maid that the strange visitor 
has made his appearance, causing such terror by his 
nightly calls, that all three have determined upon 
quitting the premises, if indeed they have not already 
carried their resolution into effect. Mr. and Mrs. 
Jones's description of the disturbance as given to the 
landlord, on whom they called in great consternation, 
is as distinct as any ghost story could be. The noc- 
turnal visitor is heard walking about the house when 
the inhabitants are in bed ; and Mr. Jones, who is a 


man of by no means nervous constitution, declares he 
has several times seen a light flickering on one of the 
walls. Mrs. Jones is equally certain that she has heard 
a man with creaking shoes walking in the bed-room 
above her own, when no man was on the premises (or at 
least ought not to be), and ' was nearly killed with the 
fright.' To the servant-maid, however, was vouchsafed 
the unenvied honour of seeing this restless night 
visitor; she declares she has repeatedly had her bed- 
room door unbolted at night, between the hours of 
twelve and two o'clock the period when such beings 
usually make their promenades by something in human 
semblance. She cannot particularise his dress, but 
describes it as something antique, and of a fashion 
'lang syne gane,' and to some extent corresponding to 
that of the ancient Calendars, the former inhabitants of 
the house. She further says, he is ' a whiskered gentle- 
man' (we give her own words), which whiskered 
gentleman has gone the length of shaking her bed, 
and, she believes, would have shaken herself also, but 
that she invariably puts her head under the clothes 
when she sees him approach. Mrs. Jones declares she 
believes in the appearance of the whiskered gentleman, 
and she had made up her mind the night before she 
called on her landlord to leap out of the window (and 
it is not a trifle that will make people leap out of the 
windows) as soon as he entered the room. The effect 
of the * flickering light ' on Mr. Jones was quite terrific, 
causing excessive trembling, and the complete doubling 
up of his whole body into a round ball, like." 


As far as can be ascertained no elucidation of this 
mysterious affair was ever forthcoming. Mrs. Crowe 
to whose knowledge the account was brought sub- 
sequently wrote to the editor of the Bristol Times, 
and received a reply that " the whole affair remains 
wrapped in the same mystery as when chronicled in the 
pages of" the paper, and this statement was sub- 
sequently confirmed by Mrs. Jones. 


In the narrative about to be recited, the appearance of 
the apparition, and the coincidence of the date of death 
with its appearance, differ in no way from the usual 
records of such thinsrs. But the wonderful series of 
events by which the discrepancies between the official 
report and the spectral visit were ultimately explained, 
render this story one of the most marvellous known. 
Tt is related by Robert Dale Owen, in his famous 
Footfalls, wherein he declares that although in accord- 
ance with the wishes of the family some of the names 
are merely represented by initials, they are all known 
to him. As, however, the name of the officer subse- 
quently appeared in print, we shall not be committing 
any breach of courtesy or of good feeling in stating 
that Captain German Wheatcroft is the name in full. 
The story taken as a whole is so truly marvellous, 


that it is deemed but just that it should be given 
verbatim from Owen's record, not abridging or altering 
a single foot-note, nor omitting aught save a spiritual 
episode which does not affect the general narrative. 
The tale runs thus : 

"In the month of September, 1857, Captain German 
Wheatcroft, of the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons, went 
out to India to join his regiment. 

"His wife remained in England, residing at Cam- 
bridge. On the night between the 14th and 15th of 
November, 1857, towards morning, she dreamed that 
she saw her husband, looking anxious and ill; upon 
which she immediately awoke, much agitated. It was 
bright moonlight: and, looking up, she perceived the 
same figure standing by her bed-side. He appeared in 
his uniform, the hands pressed across the breast, the 
hair dishevelled, the face very pale. His large dark 
eyes were fixed full upon her ; their expression was 
that of great excitement, and there was a peculiar con- 
traction of the mouth, habitual to him when agitated. 
She saw him, even to each minute particular of his 
dress, as distinctly as she had ever done in her life ; and 
she remembers to have noticed between his hands the 
white of the shirt-bosom, unstained, however, with 
blood. The figure seemed to bend forward, as if in 
pain, and to make an effort to speak; but there was no 
sound. It remained visible, the wife thinks, as long as 
a minute, and then disappeared. 

" Her first idea was to ascertain if she was actually 
awake. She rubbed her eyes with the sheet, and felt 


that the touch was real. Her little nephew was in bed 
with her ; she hent over the sleeping child and listened 
to its breathing : the sound was distinct, and she be- 
came convinced that what she had seen was no dream. 
It need hardly be added that she did not again go to 
sleep that night. 

" Next morning she related all this to her mother, 
expressing her conviction, though she had noticed no 
marks of blood on his dress, that Captain Wheatcroft 
was either killed or grievously wounded. So fully 
impressed was she with the reality of that apparition, 
that she thenceforth refused all invitations. A young 
friend urged her soon afterwards to go with her to a 
fashionable concert, reminding her that she had received 
from Malta, sent by her husband, a handsome dress 
cloak, which she had never yet worn. But she posi- 
tively declined, declaring that, uncertain as she was 
whether she was not already a widow, she would never 
enter a place of amusement until she had letters from 
her husband (if indeed he still lived) of a later date 
than the 14th of November. 

" It was on a Tuesday, in the month of December, 

1857, that the telegram regarding the actual fate of 

Captain Wheatcroft was published in London. It was 

to the effect that he was killed before Lucknow on the 

fifteenth of November. 

"This news, given in the morning paper, attracted 
the attention of Mr. Wilkinson, a London solicitor, who 
had in charge Captain Wheatcroft's affairs. When at a 
later period this gentleman met the widow, she informed 


him that she had heen quite prepared for the melancholy 
news, hut that she had felt sure her husband could not 
have been killed on the 15th of November, inasmuch as 
it was during the night between the 14th and 15th 
that he appeared to her.* 

" The certificate from the War Office, however, which 
it became Mr. Wilkinson's duty to obtain, confirmed 
the date given in the telegram, its tenor being as 
follows : 

" 4 No. ssp War Office, 

30th January, 1858 
" * These are to certify that it appears, by the records in this office, 
that Captain German Wheatcroft, of the 6th Dragoon Gnards, waa 
killed in action on the loth of November, 1857. f 

" ' (Signed) B. Hawes.' 

" Mr. Wilkinson called at the office of Messrs. Cox 
and Greenwood, the army agents, to ascertain if there 
were no mistake in the certificate. But nothing there 
appeared to confirm any surmise of inaccuracy. Captain 
Wheatcroft's death was mentioned in two separate de- 
spatches of Sir Colin Campbell, and in both the date 
corresponded with that given in the telegram. 

" So matters rested, until, in the month of March, 

* " The difference of longitude between London and Lucknow 
being about five hours, three or four o'clock a.m. in London would be 
eight or nine o'clock a.m. at Lucknow. But it was in the afternoon, 
not in the morning, as will be seen in the sequel, that Captain Wheat- 
croft was killed. Had he fallen on the 15th, therefore, the apparition 
to his wife would have appeared several hours before the engagement 
in which he fell, and while he was yet alive and well. R. D. Owen." 

f " Into this certificate, of which I possess the original, an error has 
crept. Captain German "Wheatcroft was of the 6th (Inniskilling) 
Dragoons, not of the 6th Dragoon Guards. R. D. Owen." 




1858, the family of Captain Wheatcroft received from 

Captain G C , then of the Military Train, a 

letter dated near Lucknow, on the 19th of December, 
1857. This letter informed them that Captain Wheat- 
croft had been killed before Lucknow, while gallantly 


leading on the squadron, not on the 15th of November, 
as reported in Sir Colin Campbell's despatches, but on 

the fourteenth, in the afternoon. Captain C was 

riding close by his side at the time he saw him fall. 
He was struck by a fragment of shell in the breast, and 
never spoke after he was hit. He was buried at the 
Dilkoosha; and on a wooden cross, erected by his friend, 

Lieutenant R of the 9th Lancers, at the head of his 

grave, are cut the initials * G. W.,' and the date of 
his death, the * 14th of November, 1857.'* 

" The War Office finally made the correction as to 
the date of death, but not until more than a vear after 
the event occurred. Mr. Wilkinson, having occasion 
to apply for an additional copy of the certificate in 
April, 1857, found it in exactly the same words as that 
which I have given, only that the 14th of November 
had been substituted for the 15th. f 

* " It was not in his own regiment, which was then at Mcerut, that 
Captain Wheatcroft was serving at the time of his death. Immedi- 
ately on arriving from England at Cawnpore, he had offered his 
services to Colonel Wilson, of the Gith. They were at first declined, 
but finally accepted ; and he joined the Military Train then starting 
for Lucknow. It was in their ranks that he fell. R. D. Owen." 

f " The originals of both these certificates are in my possession : 
tho first bearing date 30th January, 1858, and certifying, as already 
shown, to the loth ; the second, dated 5th April, 1859, and testifying 
to the 14th. R. D. Owen " 


"This extraordinary narrative was obtained by me 
direct from the parties themselves," says Owen. " The 
widow of Captain Wheatcroft kindly consented to 
examine and correct the manuscript, and allowed me 

to inspect a copy of Captain C 's letter, giving the 

particulars of her husband's death. To Mr. Wilkinson, 
also, the manuscript was submitted, and he assented to 
its accuracy so far as he is concerned. I have neglected 
no precaution, therefore, to obtain for it the warrant of 

" It is, perhaps," concludes Owen, " the only 
example on record where the appearance of what is 
usually termed a ghost proved the means of correcting 
an erroneous date in the despatches of a Commander- 
in-Chief, and of detecting an inaccuracy in the certificate 
of a War-Office." 


Innumerable stones are related of various rooms in 
the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge being haunted. 
One of the most circumstantial is given in Howitt's 
History of the Supernatural, as related to him by 
Wordsworth, on his return from paying a visit to his 
brother, Dr. Christopher Wordsworth, then Master of 
Trinity College, Cambridge. According to the poet's 


account, as detailed by Howitt, a young man, having 
just come to enter himself a student at Trinity, brought 
with him a letter of introduction to Dr. Wordsworth. 
Upon presenting his introductory epistle, the student 
asked the Master if he could recommend comfortable 
quarters to him, and Dr. Wordsworth mentioned some 
that were at that time vacant. The young man took 

A few days after this, Dr. Wordsworth, seeing the 
collegian, asked him how he liked his new quarters. 
He replied that the rooms themselves were very com- 
fortable, but that he should be obliged to give them up. 
Upon being asked what was his reason for doing so, 
the young freshman replied, Dr. Wordsworth might 
think him fanciful, but that the rooms were haunted, 
and that he had been awakened every night by the 
apparition of a child, which wandered about the rooms 
moaning, and, strange to say, with the palms of its 
hands turned outwards ; that he had searched his 
rooms, and on each occasion found them securely 
locked, and that he was convinced nothing but an 
apparition could have traversed them. Dr. Wordsworth 
said he would now be candid with him, and confess 
that these rooms had been repeatedly abandoned by 
students on the plea that they were haunted, but that, 
having a perfect reliance on his judgment and veracity, 
from what he had heard of him, he was desirous of 
seeing whether he would confirm the story, having had 
no intimation of it beforehand. " Whether," says 
Howitt, very pertinently, "the young man thanked the 


Master for his recommendation of such lodgings, does 
not appear." 

In The Night Side of Nature is given another in- 
stance of the appearance of an apparition in one of the 
colleges at Cambridge, but, unfortunately, the name of 
the college is not given, and only the initial of the 
ghost-seer's name. The story is that three young men, 
students at the university, after having been out hunt- 
ing, met and dined together in the apartments of one of 
them. After dinner the host and one of his guests, 
fatigued with their heavy exercise, fell asleep ; but the 

third person present, Mr. M , remained awake. 

After a time Mr. M beheld the door open, and an 

elderly gentleman enter and place himself behind the 
sleeping owner of the rooms. Having stood there for 
about a minute, the stranger moved away, and pro* 
ceeded into the " gyp " room, a small inner chamber, 
whence there was no other means of exit than through 
the door he had entered. As the stranger did not come 

out again from the " gyp " room, Mr. M woke his 

host, and told him that somebody had gone into the 
room, remarking, " I don't know who it can be." 

The young man rose and looked into the " gyp " 
room, but as there was no one there, he very naturally 

accused Mr. M of having been dreaming ; but he 

was quite positive that he had not been asleep. He 
then gave a description of the visitor's appearance, 
describing him as dressed like a country squire, with 
gaiters, and so forth. " Why, that 's like my father," 
6aid the host, and at once instituted inquiry as to 


whether the old gentleman had been there, ana had 
contrived to slip out again unobserved. He had not 
been seen ; and an early post brought the intelligence of 
his death, which had occurred about the time he was 
seen at Cambridge. 


In his celebrated Athena* Oxonie?ises i Anthony a 
Wood, the learned antiquary, states that Dr. Jacob, a 
well-known medical man. told him the following mar- 
vellous relation of an apparition that visited his house 
at Canterbury. "This very story," records a Wood, 
" Dr. Jacobs told me himself, being then at Lord Teyn- 
ham's, in Kent, where he was then physician to m} 
eldest son, whom he recovered from a fever:" Dr 
Jacob also repeated the relation in a letter which 
Aubrey, the antiquary, alludes to in his Miscellanies. 
The story is that " the learned Henry Jacob," a fellow 
of Merton College, Oxford, died at Dr. Jacob's house at 

About a week after Henry Jacob's death, the doctor 
being in bed and awake, and the moon shining bright 
into his room, he beheld his deceased cousin standing 
by the bedside in his shirt, with a white cap on his 
head, and his "mustachoes turning up, as when he was 
alive." The doctor pinched himself to be assured that 


he was awake, and turned to the other side away from 
the apparition. After some time he plucked up courage 
to turn towards it again, and Henry Jacob stood there 
still. The doctor would have spoken to him, but could 
not, for which he has been sorrv ever since. In some 
little time the apparition disappeared. 

Not long after this incident the cook-maid, going out 
to the wood-pile one evening to fetch some wood for the 
kitchen fire, averred that she saw the apparition of Mr. 
Henry in his shirt, standing on the pile of wood. 

This spectre does not seem to have troubled the 
doctor any more ; but it is stated that when dying 
Henry Jacob would fain have told his cousin some- 
thing, but was not able to. It is imagined, says 
Aubrev, that he would have informed Dr. Jacob with 
what person he had deposited the manuscripts of his 
own writings, which were all the riches he had, and 
which, it was strongly suspected, fell into the hands 
of a certain person who printed them under his own 
name. If anything could bring an author's spirit 
back to this sphere, certainly such an outrage on his 
memory would. 


Anyone conversant with the less-known judicial records 
of the past, is well aware that supernatural evidence 
frequently formed an important factor in ancient crimi 


nal trials. One of these curious case3 is recorded in 
Aubrey's Miscellanies, that mediey of useful and use- 
less matters, as having taken place in the immediate 
vicinity of Cawood Castle, Yorkshire. The depositions 
made at the trial, but for one extraordinary and all- 
important piece of evidence, were of common-place type. 
According to the circumstances brought out in the 
course of investigation, the facts were these: 

On Monday, the 14th of April, 1690, William Bar- 
wick was out walking with his wife, Mary Barwick, close 
to Cawood Castle. From motives not divulged at the 
trial, although shrewdly guessed at by Aubrey, he deter- 
mined to murder her, and finding a pond conveniently 
at hand, he threw her in. Deeming, doubtless, that the 
bodv would soon be discovered where it was, he went 
the next day to the place, procured a huge spade, and, 
getting the corpse out of the water, made a grave close 
by, and buried it. 

Apparently satisfied that no one had witnessed his 
ghastly deed, Barwick actually went on the day he had 
committed the murder to his wife's sister, and informed 
her husband, Thomas Lofthouse, that he had taken his 
wife to a relative's house in Selbv, and left her there. 
Lofthouse, however, according to his deposition on 
oath, averred that on the Tuesday after the visit of 
Barwick, " about half an hour after twelve of the clock, 
in the day-time, he was watering quickwood, and as he 
was going for the second pail, there appeared, walking: 
before him, an apparition in the shape of a woman. 
Soon after she sat down over against the pona, on a 


green hill. He walked by her as he went to the pond, 
and as he came with the pail of water from the pond, 
looking sideways to see if she sat in the same place, 
which he saw she did." The witness then observed that 
the apparition was dandling " something like a white 
bag" on her lap, evidently suggestive, indeed, of her 
unborn babe that was slain with her. Lofthouse now 
emptied his pail of water, so he averred, and then stood 
in the yard of his house, to see if he could still see the 
woman's figure, but she had disappeared. He described 
her attire as exactly similar to that worn by his sister- 
in-law at the time of her murder, but remarked that she 
looked extremely pale, and that her teeth were visible, 
" her visage being like his wife's sister." 

Notwithstanding the horror of this apparition, Loft- 
house, according to Aubrey's account, did not mention 
anything about it to his wife till night-time, when, at 
his family duty of prayers, the thoughts of the appari- 
tion were so overpowering, that they interrupted his 
devotion. After he had made an end of his prayers, 
therefore, he told the whole story of what he had seen 
to his wife, "who, laying the whole circumstances 
together, immediately inferred that her sister was either 
drowned or otherwise murdered, and desired her hus- 
band to look after her the next day, which was Wednes- 
day in Easter week." Lofthouse now recalled to mind 
what Barwick had told him about having left his wife 
at his uncle's at Selby, and therefore went to him and 
made inquiries, and found that neither the man nor his 
wife had been seen or heard of there. This information, 

3 * 


coupled with the appearance of the apparition, increased 
his suspicions against Barwick to such a degree, that he 
went before the Lord Mayor of York, and obtained a 
warrant for the arrest of his brother-in-law. 

The culprit, when arrested, confessed the crime, and 
the body of the murdered woman being disinterred, was 
found dressed in clothing similar, apparently, to that 
worn by the apparition. Ultimately Barwick suffered 
the extreme penalty of the law for his crime. 


According to an anecdote related by Mrs. Crawford, 
in the Metropolitan Magazine for 1836, Chedworth, 
the seat of Lord Chedworth, in Gloucestershire, has 
not escaped the fate common to the residences of most 
noble families; that is to say, it has a story of an 
npparition attached to it. The account of this circum- 
stance is stated to have been told to Mrs. Crawford bv 
Miss Wright, the adopted child of Lord Chedworth, and 
daughter of a sister of his. The story, as told by his 
niece, was, that Lord Chedworth had great doubts as to 
the existence of the soul in another world, doubts 
which were equally shared by a gentleman for whom he 
had a very great friendship. 

One morning Miss Wright remarked, when her uncle 
joined her at the breakfast-table, that he was very 
thoughtful, had no nppetite, and was unusually silent. 


At last he said, " Molly " for thus he was accustomed 
to call his niece "I had a strange visitor last night. 
My old friend B came to me." 

"What!" said Miss Wright, "did he come after I 
went to bed ? " 

"His spirit did" said Lord Chedworth, solemnly. 

" Oh, my dear uncle ! how could the spirit of a living 
man appear ? " said she, smiling. 

" He is dead, beyond doubt," replied his lordship ; 
" listen, and then laugh as much as you please. I had 
not entered my bedroom many minutes when he stood 
before me. Like you, I could not believe but that I 
was looking on the living man, and so accosted him; 
but he (the spirit) answered, ' Chedworth, I died this 
night at eight o'clock. I came to tell you there is 
another world beyond the grave ; there is a righteous 
God that judgeth all!"* 

" Depend upon it, uncle, it was only a dream ; " but 
even as Miss Wright was still speaking, a groom on 
horseback rode up the avenue, and immediately after- 
wards delivered a letter to Lord Chedworth, announcing 
the sudden death of his friend. 


In Mrs. Crowe's Night Side of Nature is a remarkable 
account of a haunted dwelling, stated to be (( in the 
neighbourhood of the metropolis." Mrs. Crowe neither 


mentions the name of the locality, nor furnishes more 
than the initial of the " gentleman engaged in business 
in London," whose family suffered from the "hauntings" 
at this residence; but in Howitt's History of the Super- 
natural these omitted particulars are supplied. Accord- 
ing to Mr. Howitt, the old-fashioned house referred to 
by Mrs. Crowe was at Cheshunt, and belonged to Sir 
Henry Meux ; and the account given by the authoress 
was taken down from the recital of Mr. and Mrs. Charles 
Kean, the well-known actors, who also furnished the 
same particulars to Mr. Howitt. A comparison of the 
statements given bv Mrs. Crowe and Mr. Howitt enables 
us to give the following details : 

Mr. Chapman, the brother-in-law of Mr. Kean, and 
apparently the well-known publisher, had been induced, 
by the unusually low rental, to purchase the seven years' 
lease of a large old-fashioned house at Cheshunt. The 
house was a good country residence, was furnished, and 
had a considerable quantity of land attached to it, in- 
cluding a garden and pleasure-ground. The family 
removed into the place, and Mr. Chapman joined them 
once or twice a week, as his business engagements 

" They had been some considerable time in the house," 
says Mrs. Crowe, " without the occurrence of anything 
remarkable, when one evening, towards dusk, Mrs. 
Chapman, on going into what was called the oak bed- 
room, saw a female figure near one of the windows ; it 
was apparently a young woman with dark hair hanging 
over her shoulders, a silk petticoat, and a short white 


robe, and she appeared to be looking eagerly through 
the window, as if expecting somebody. Mrs. Chapman 
clapped her hands upon her eyes, ' as thinking she had 
seen something she ought not to have seen,' and when 
she looked again the figure had disappeared. 

" Shortly after this, a young girl, who filled the 
situation of under nursery-maid, came to her in great 
agitation, saying that she had had a terrible fright, from 
seeing a very ugly old woman looking in upon her as 
she passed the window in the lobby. The girl was 
trembling violently, and almost crying, so that Mrs. 
Chapman entertained no doubts of the reality of her 
alarm. She, however, thought it advisable to laugh her 
out of her fear, and went with her to the window, which 
looked into a closed court, but there was no one there, 
neither had any of the other servants seen such a person. 
Soon after this the family began to find themselves dis- 
turbed with strange and frequently very loud noises 
during the night. Among the rest, there was some- 
thing like the beating of a crowbar upon the pump in 
the above-mentioned court, but, search as they would, 
they could discover no cause for the sound. 

" One day, when Mr. Chapman had brought a friend 
from London to stay the night with him, Mrs. Chapman 
thought proper to go to the oak bed-room, where the 
stranger was to sleep, for the purpose of inspecting the 
arrangements for his comfort, when, to her great 
surprise, someone seemed to follow her up to the fire- 
place, though, on turning round, there was nobody to 
be seen. She said nothing about it, however, and 


returned below, where her husband and the stranger 
were sitting. Presently one of the servants (not the 
one mentioned above) tapped at the door, and requested 
to speak with her, and Mrs. Chapman going out, she 
told her, in great agitation, that in going up-stairs to 
the visitor's room a footstep had followed her all the 
way to the fire-place, although she could see nobody. 
Mrs. Chapman said something soothing, and that matter 
passed, she herself being a good deal puzzled, but still 
unwilling to admit the idea that there was anything 
extra-natural in these occurrences. Kepeatedly after this 
these footsteps were heard in different parts of the house, 
when nobody was to be seen; and often whilst she 
was lying in bed she heard them distinctly approach her 
door, w T hen, being a very courageous woman, she would 
start out with a loaded pistol in her hand, but there 
was never anyone to be seen. At length it was im- 
possible to conceal from herself and her servants that 
these occurrences were of an extraordinary nature, and 
the latter, as may be supposed, felt very uncomfortable. 
Amongst other unpleasant things, whilst sitting all 
together in the kitchen, they used to see the latch lifted, 
and the door open, though no one came in that they 
could see ; and when Mr. Chapman himself watched for 
these events, although they took place, and he was quite 
on the alert, he altogether failed in detecting any visible 

" One night, the same servant who had heard the 
footsteps following her to the bed-room fire-place, 
happening to be asleop in Mrs. Chapman's chamber, she 


became much disturbed, and was heard to murmur, 
' Wake me ! Wake me!' as if in great mental anguish. 
Being aroused, she told her mistress a dream she had 
had, which seemed to throw some light upon these 
mysteries. She thought she was in the oak bed-room, 
and at one end of it she saw a young female in an old- 
fashioned dress, with long dark hair ; whilst in another 
part of the room was a very ugly old woman, also in 
old-fashioned attire. The latter, addressing the former, 
said, * What have you done with the child, Emily ? 
What have you done with the child ? ' To which the 
younger figure answered, ' Oh, I did not kill it. He was 

preserved, and grew up, and joined the Regiment, 

and went to India.' Then, addressing the sleeper, the 
young lady continued, ' I have never spoken to mortal 
before, but I will tell you all. My name is Miss Black, and 
this old woman is nurse Black. Black is not her name, 
but we call her so because she has been so long in the 
family.' Here the old woman interrupted the speaker by 
coming up and laying her hand on the dreaming girl's 
shoulder, whilst she said something ; but she could not 
remember what ; for, feeling an excruciating pain from 
the touch, she had been so far aroused as to be sensible 
she was asleep, and to beg to be wholly awakened. 

" As the old woman seemed to resemble the figure 
that one of the other servants had seen looking into the 
window, and the young one resembled that she had 
herself seen in the oak chamber, Mrs. Chapman 
naturally concluded that there was something extra- 
ordinary about this dream ; and she consequently took 


an early opportunity of inquiring in the neighbourhood 
what was known as to the names or circumstances of 
the former inhabitants of this house ; and after much 
investigation she learnt that, about seventy or eighty 
years before, it had been in the possession of a Mrs. 
Ravenhall, who had a niece named Miss Black living 
with her. This niece, Mrs. Chapman supposed, might 
be the younger of the two persons who had been seen. 
Subsequently she saw her again in the same room, 
wringing her hands, and looking with a mournful signi- 
ficance to one corner. They had the boards taken up 
on that spot, but nothing was found. 

" One of the most curious incidents connected with 
this story remains to be told. After occupying the 
house three years, they were preparing to quit it not 
on account of its being haunted, but for other reasons 
when, on awaking one morning, a short time before 
their departure, Mrs. Chapman saw, standing at the 
foot of her bed, a dark-complexioned man, in a working 
dress, a fustian jacket, and red comforter round his neck, 
who, however, suddenly disappeared. Mr. Chapman 
was lying beside her at the time, but asleep. This was 
the last apparition that was seen ; but the strange thing 
is, that a few clays after this, it being necessary to order 
in a small quantity of coals, to serve till their removal, 
Mr. Chapman undertook to perform the commission on 
his way to London. Accordingly, the next day she 
mentioned to him that the coals had arrived ; which he 
said was very fortunate, since he had entirely forgotten 
to order them. Wondering whence they had come, Mrs. 













Chapman hereupon inquired of the servants, who none 
of them knew anything about the matter ; but, on 
interrogating a person in the village by whom they had 
frequently been provided with this article, he answered, 
that they had been ordered by a dark man, in a fustian 
jacket and a red comforter, who had called for the 
purpose ! " 

After this last event Mr. Chapman quitted the house, 
and when he had given up possession found that several 
previous tenants had been under the necessity of doing 
so, on account of annovances similar to those his 
household had suffered from. However, he kept the 
cause of his removal quiet, and managed to sell his lease 
to a clergyman who kept a school, but be, in his turn, 
was compelled to give up the house for the same cause, 
and for years it stood empty. Ultimately, it was partly 
pulled down and re-built : and it would seem as if this 
alteration had broken the spell, for it has been inhabited 
since, and reported, said Mr. Howitt, in 1863, free from 


The apparition of a "Kadiant Boy," as it is called, is 
not uncommon in the history of haunted buildings, as 
various sections of this work will show. Dr. Kerner, 
the great German authority on spectral affairs, cites an 


instance of one of these apparitions which was believed 
to appear only once in seven years, and to be connected 
in some way with the murder of a child by its mother. 
Mrs. Crowe, in her Night Side of Nature t refers to the 
well-known tradition that C(orby ?) Castle, Cumber- 
land, is haunted by a spirit of this description. A 
friend of the familv owning this ancient dwelling is 
authority for the following account of an appearance of 
the ghostly visitant : it is copied from a manuscript 

volume, and it is dated C Castle, December 22nd, 

1824 : 

"In order to introduce my readers to the haunted 
room, I will mention that it forms part of the old house, 
with windows looking into the court, which, in early 
times, was deemed a necessary security against an 
enemy. It adjoins a tower built by the Eomans for 

defence ; for C was, properly, more a border tower 

than a castle of any consideration. There is a winding 
staircase in this tower, and the walls are from eight to 
ten feet thick. 

" When the times became more peaceable, our 
ancestors enlarged the arrow-slit windows, and added to 
that part of the building which looks towards the river 
Eden ; the view of which, with its beautiful banks, we 
now enjoy. But many additions and alterations have 
been made since that. 

" To return to the room in question ; I must observe 
that it is by no means remote or solitary, being 
surrounded on all sides by chambers that are constantly 
inhabited. It is accessible by a passage cut through a 



wall eight feet in thickness, and its dimensions are 
twenty-one by eighteen. One side of the wainscoting 
is covered with tapestry, the remainder is decorated 
with old family pictures, and some ancient pieces of 
embroidery, probably the handiwork of nuns. Over a 
press, which has doors of Venetian glass, is an ancient 
oaken figure, with a battle-axe in his hand, -which was 
one of those formerly placed on the walls of the city of 
Carlisle, to represent guards. There used to be also 
an old-fashioned bed and some dark furniture in this 
room ; but so many were the complaints of those who 
slept there, that I was induced to replace some of these 
articles of furniture by more modern ones, in the hope of 
removing a certain air of gloom, which I thought might 
have given rise to the unaccountable reports of appari- 
tions and extraordinary noises which were constantly 
reaching us. But I regret to say I did not succeed in 
banishing the nocturnal visitor, which still continues to 
disturb our friends. 

" I shall pass over numerous instances, and select one 
as being especially remarkable, from the circumstance of 
the apparition having been seen by a clergyman well 
known and highly respected in this county, who, not six 
weeks ago, repeated the circumstances to a company of 
twenty persons, amongst whom were some who had 
previously been entire disbelievers in such appearances. 

" The best way of giving you these particulars, will 
be by subjoining an extract from my journal, entered at 
the time the event occurred. 

" Sept. 8, 1803. Amongst other guests invited to 


C Castle, came the Kev. Henry A. of Redburgh, 

and rector of Greystoke, with Mrs. A., his wife, who 
was a Miss S., of Ulverstone. According to previous 
arrangements, they were to have remained with us some 
days ; hut their visit was cut short in a very unexpected 
manner. On the morning after their arrival we were 
all assembled at breakfast, when a chaise and four 
dashed up to the door in such haste that it knocked 
down part of the fence of my flower-garden. Our 
curiosity was, of course, awakened to know who could 
be arriving at so early an hour ; when, happening to 
turn my eyes towards Mr. A., I observed that he 
appeared extremely agitated. ' It is our carriage ! ' said 
he : ' I am very sorry, but we must absolutely leave you 
this morning.' 

" We naturally felt and expressed considerable 
surprise, as well as regret, at this unexpected departure ; 
representing that we had invited Colonel and Mrs. S., 
some friends whom Mr. A. particularly desired to meet, 
to dine with us on that day. Our expostulations, how- 
ever, were vain ; the breakfast was no sooner over than 
they departed, leaving us in consternation to conjecture 
what could possibly have occasioned so sudden an 
alteration in their arrangements. I really felt quite 
uneasy lest anything should have given them offence ; 
and we reviewed all the occurrences of the preceding 
evening, in order to discover, if offence there was, 
whence it had arisen. But our pains were vain; and 
alter talking a great deal about it for some days, other 
circumstances banished the matter from our minds. 


" It was not till we some time afterwards visited the 
part of the county in which Mr. A. resides, that we 
learnt the real cause of his sudden departure from 

C . The relation of the fact, as it here follows, is 

in his own words : 

" ' Soon after we went to bed, we fell asleep : it might 
he between one and two in the morning when I awoke. 
I observed that the fire was totally extinguished ; but 
although that was the case, and we had no light, I saw 
a glimmer in the centre of the room, which suddenly 
increased to a bright flame. I looked out, apprehending 
that something had caught fire ; when, to my amaze- 
ment, I beheld a beautiful boy, clothed in white, with 
bright locks resembling gold, standing by my bedside, 
in which position he remained some minutes, fixing his 
eyes upon me with a mild and benevolent expression. 
He then glided gently towards the side of the chimney, 
where it is obvious there is no possible egress, and 
entirely disappeared. I found myself again in total 
darkness, and all remained quiet until the usual hour of 
rising. I declare this to be a true account of what I 
saw at C Castle, upon my word as a clergyman.' " 

Mrs. Crowe, in alluding to this story in her above- 
mentioned book, remarks that she was acquainted with 
some of the family and several of the friends of the 

Bev. Henry A , who, she continues, " is still alive, 

though now an old man; and I can most positively 
assert that his own conviction with regard to the nature 
of this appearance has remained ever unshaken. The 
circumstance made a lasting impression upon his mind, 


and he never willingly speaks of it ; but when he does, 
it is always with the greatest seriousness, and he never 
shrinks from avowing his belief that what he saw admits 
of no other interpretation than the one he then put 
upon it." 

As a pendant to this narrative it will be appropriate 
to relate the story of " The Radiant Boy," so well 
known in traditionary lore as having appeared to the 
second Marquis of Londonderry, better known as Lord 
Castlereagh, whilst on a visit to a gentleman resident 
in the north of Ireland. The time of this visit would 
appear to have been about the end of the last century. 
The story has been variously detailed by different writers, 
but in the following account, derived from Mrs. Crowe's 
Ghost Stories, it is less romantically told than usual, 
and, consequently, has a greater air of vraisemblance. 
In this form it is stated to have been obtained from a 
member of the Marquis's family : 

" Captain Stewart, afterwards Lord Castlereagh," 
reads the account, " when he was a young man, 
happened to be quartered in Ireland. He was fond of 
sport, and one day the pursuit of game carried him so 
far that he lost his way. The weather, too, had become 
very rough, and in this strait he presented himself at 
the door of a gentleman's house, and, sending in his 
card, requested shelter for the night. The hospitality 
of the Irish country gentry is proverbial ; the master of 
the house received him warmly, said he feared he could 
not make him so comfortable as he could have wished, 
his house being full of visitors already added to which, 


some strangers, driven by the inclemency of the nigbt, 
hod sought shelter before him; but that such accommo- 
dation as he could give he was heartily welcome to : 
whereupon he called his butler, and, committing his 
guest to his good offices, told him he must put him up 
somewhere, and do the best he could for him. There 
was no lady, the gentleman being a widower. 

" Captain Stewart found the house crammed, and a 
very jolly party it was. His host invited him to stay, 
and promised him good shooting if he would prolong 
his visit a few days ; and, in fine, he thought himself 
extremely fortunate to have fallen into such pleasant 

" At length, after an agreeable evening, they all 
retired to bed, and the butler conducted him to a large 
room almost divested of furniture, but with a blazing 
peat fire in the grate, and a shake-down on the floor, 
composed of cloaks and other heterogeneous materials. 
Nevertheless, to the tired limbs of Captain Stewart, 
who had had a hard day's shooting, it looked very 
inviting; but, before he lay down, he thought it 
advisable to take off some of the fire, which was blazing 
up the chimney in what he thought an alarming manner. 
Having done this, he stretched h'mseif upon the couch, 
and soon fell asleep. 

'* He believed he had slept about a couple of hours 
when he awoke suddenly, and was startled by such a 
vivid light in the room that he thought it was on fire ; 
but on turning to look at the grate he saw the fire was 
out* though it was from the chimney the light proceeded. 



He sat up in bed, trying to discover what it was, when 
he perceived, gradually disclosing itself, the form of a 
beautiful naked boy, surrounded by a dazzling radiance. 
The boy looked at him earnestly, and then the vision 
faded, and all was dark. Captain Stewart, so far from 
supposing what he had seen to be of a spiritual nature, 
had no doubt that the host, or the visitors, had been 
amusing themselves at his expense, and trying to 
frighten him. Accordingly, he felt indignant at the 
liberty ; and, on the following morning, when he 
appeared at breakfast, he took care to evince his dis- 
pleasure by the reserve of his demeanour, and by 
announcing his intention to depart immediately. The 
host expostulated, reminding him of his promise to 
stay and shoot. Captain Stewart coldly excused him- 
self, and, at length, the gentleman seeing something was 
wrong, took him aside and pressed for an explanation ; 
whereupon Captain Stewart, without entering into 
particulars, said that he had been made the victim of a 
sort of practical joking that he thought quite un- 
warrantable with a stranger. 

"The gentleman considered this not impossible 
amongst a parcel of thoughtless young men > and 
appealed to them to make an apology ; but one and all, 
on their honour, denied the impeachment. Suddenly a 
thought seemed to strike him ; he clapt his hand to his 
forehead, uttered an exclamation, and rang the bell. 
' Hamilton/ said he to the butler, c where did Captain 
Stewart sleep last night ? ' 

" ' Well, Sir,' replied the man, in an apologetic tone. 


* you know every place was full the gentlemen were 
lying on the floor three or four in a room so I gave 
him the Boy's Room ; but I lit a blazing fire to keep 
him from coming out.' 

" ' You were very wrong,' said the host ; ' you know I 
have positively forbidden you to put anyone there, and 
have taken the furniture out of the room to insure its 
not being occupied.' Then retiring with Captain 
Stewart, he informed him verv gravely of the nature of 
the phenomenon he had seen; and at length, being 
pressed for further information, he confessed that there 
existed a tradition in his family that whomever the 
Radiant Boy appeared to would rise to the summit of 
power, and when he had reached the climax, would die 
a violent death ; * and I must say,' he added, * the records 
that have been kept of his appearance go to confirm 
this persuasion.' " 

It is scarcely necessary to remind the reader that sub- 
sequently Lord Castlereagh became head of the Govern- 
ment, and, finally, perished by his own hand. 


Of all the haunted castles in Great Britain, none, pro- 
bably, has acquired a greater amount of notoriety than 
that of Cortachy Castle, the seat of the Earl of Airlie. 
This ancient stronghold is haunted by the spirit of a 

4 * 


drummer, and whenever his drum is heard it may be 
accepted, according to the popular belief, as a token of 
the speedy death of a member of the Ogilvie family. 
The origin of this tradition is that either the drummer, 
or some officer whose emissary he was, had excited the 
jealousy of a former Lord Airlie, and that, in conse- 
quence, he was put to death by being thrust into his 
own drum, and flung from the window of the tower in 
which is situated the chamber where his music is, 
apparently, chiefly heard. It is said that he threatened 
to haunt the family if his life were taken ; and he would 
appear to be as good, or rather as bad, as his word, 
the strain of his invisible drum having been heard several 
times even in the memory of living persons, and once, 
notoriously, quite recently. 

The authoress who gives the following account of a 
somewhat recent occasion when the drummer was heard 
performing upon his ill-omened instrument, introduces 
it by the remark that about Christmas, 1844, a letter 
just received from a member of a distinguished Perth- 
shire family was sent to her for perusal. The sender, 
an eminent literary man, accompanied the communica- 
tion with the remark, " Read the enclosed ; and we shall 
now have an opportunity of observing if any eveut 
follow the prognostic." 

The information afforded by the letter was to the 
following effect : 

"Miss Dalrymple, a relative of the present Lady 

C , who had been staying some time with the Earl 

and Countess at their seat, near Dundee, was invited to 

*. ._> . 


spend a few days at Cortachy Castle, with the Earl and 
Countess of Airlie. She went, and whilst she was 
dressing for dinner, the first evening of her arrival, she 
heard a strain of music under her window, which finally 
resolved itself into a well-defined sound of a drum. 
When her maid came upstairs, she made some inquiries 
about the drummer that was playing near the house, 
but the maid knew nothing on the subject. For the 
moment the circumstance passed from Miss Dalrymple's 
mind ; but recurring to her again during the dinner, she 
said, addressing Lord Airlie, 'My Lord, who is your 
drummer ? ' upon which his lordship turned pale, Lady 
Airlie looked distressed, and several of the company, 
who all heard the question, embarrassed; whilst the 
lady, perceiving that she had made some unpleasant 
allusion, although she knew not to what their feeling3 
referred, forebore further inquiry till she reached the 
drawing-room, when, having mentioned the circumstance 
again to a member of the family, she was answered, 
'What! have vou never heard of the drummer-boy?' 
' No,' replied Miss Dalrymple, ' who in the world is 
he? ' 'Why,' replied the other, 'he is a person who goes 
about the house playing his drum whenever there is a 
death impending in the family. The last time he 
was heard was shortly before the death of the last 
Countess (the Earl's former wife) ; and that is why 
Lord Airlie became so pale when you mentioned it. The 
drummer is a very unpleasant subject in this family, I 
assure you ! ' 

"Miss Dalrymple was naturally much concerned, and 


indeed, not a little frightened at this explanation, and 
her alarm being augmented by hearing the sounds on 
the following day, she took her departure from Cortachy 
Castle, and returned to Lord C.'s, stopping on her way 
to call on some friends, where she related this strange 
circumstance to the family through whom the informa- 
tion reached me. 

" This affair was very generally known in the north, 
and we awaited the event with interest. The melancholy 
death of the Countess about five or six months after- 
wards, at Brighton, sadly verified the prognostic. I 
have heard that a paper was found on her desk after her 
death, declaring her conviotion that the drum was for 
her ; and it has been suggested, that probably the thing 
preyed upon her mind and caused the catastrophe ; but 
in the first place, from the mode of her death, that does 
not appear to be the case ; and, in the second, even if it 
were, the fact of the verification of the prognostic 
remains unaffected ; besides which, those who insist 
upon taking refuge in this hypothesis, are bound to 
admit, that before people living in the world, like Lord 
and Lady Airlie, could attach so much importance to 
the prognostic as to entail such fatal effects, they must 
have had very good reasons for believing in it." 

The incidents just narrated took place, it will be re- 
collected, in 1844. Five years later, or, to be more 
precise, on the evening of the 19th of August 1849, a 
young English gentleman was on his way to the Tulchan, 
a shooting-lodge belonging to the Earl of Airlie. He 
was mounted on a stout pony, having a stalwart High- 


lander for his guide across the wild Forfarshire moor. 

For about two hours darkness had fallen upon the 
sceDes, that is to say, it was about half-past eight in the 
evening, when the welcome lights, issuing from the 
windows of the Tulchan, met our traveller's anxious 
gaze. At the same moment a swell of faint music smote 
suddenly upon his ear. The sound was as that of a 
distant band accompanied by the drum, and appeared to 
emanate from the low ridge of ground below the hunting- 
lodge in front of him. As it was wafted in ]ouder 
accents across the moor, he could not forbear from feeling 
that it had something of an eerie and unearthly character 
about it. Astonished at such an unaccountable occur- 
rence in a spot where the Tulchan was the only house 
within many miles, and where bracken, brown heath, 
and morass stretched far and wide upon every side of 
him, the young man called the attention of his guide to 
the strange burst of music which he had just heard. 
Muttering that such sounds were "no canny," and pro- 
fessing that to him they were inaudible, the Highlander 
urged on his pony to as great a speed as the weary beast 
could exert after a journey of twenty-five miles, and in a 
little while the two riders drew rein at the hospitable 
door of the lodge. 

Upon descending from his pony the Englishman 
learnt that his friend and host, Lord Ogilvie (afterwards 
tenth Earl of Airlie), had been summoned to London 
on account of his father's dangerous illness. On the 
following day the ninth Earl of Airlie breathed his last 
in Eegent Street, London, thus affording another testi- 


mony to the truth of the old tradition, that weird music 
and the sound of the drum haunt the dwellings of the 
Ogilvies prior to the death of a memher of the family. 


Creslow, in Buckinghamshire, like so many ancient 
English manor-houses, has its family ghost. According 
to Dr. Lee, the old residence is haunted by the restless 
spirit of a lady long since deceased : she frequents 
a certain sleeping-chamber in the most ancient portion 
of the building. She has not often been seen, yet has 
but too frequently been heard, and only too distinctly, by 
those who have ventured to sleep in or to enter after 
midnight the room she appears to deem hers. She is 
said to come up from the old groined crypt, and always 
appears to enter by the door at the top of the nearest 
staircase. After entering the chamber she is heard to 
walk about it, sometimes in a stately manner, with her 
long silk train sweeping the floor, and at other times 
with a quick and hurried motion, with her silken dress 
rustling violently, as if she were engaged in a desperate 
struggle. The fact that the whole of this time the lady 
and her accessories are invisible adds in no slight degree 
to the horror of the affair. 

This haunted chamber, although furnished as a bed- 
room, is rarely used, and it is said that it cannot be 


entered, even in the day-time, without trepidation and 
awe. However, some persons have been found bold 
enough to dare the harmless noises of the mysterious 
intruder ; and many are the traditions current in Buck- 
inghamshire respecting the results to these people of 
the adventure. 

The following will suffice as a specimen, and may, 
according to Dr. Lee, be depended on as authentic : 

" About the year 1850, a gentleman, not many years 
ago High Sheriff of the county, who resides some few 
miles distance from Creslow, rode over to a dinuer 
party; and, as the night became exceedingly dark and 
rainy, he was urged to stay over the night if he had no 
objection to sleep in the haunted chamber. The offer 
of a bed in such a room, so far from deterring him, 
induced him at once to accept the invitation. He was 
a strong-minded man of a powerful frame and undaunted 
courage, and, like so many others, entertained a sovereign 
contempt for all haunted chambers, ghosts and appari- 
tions. The room was prepared for him. He would 
neither have a fire nor a night-light, but was provided 
with a box of lucifers that he might light a candle if he 
wished. Arming himself in jest with a cutlass and 
a brace of pistols, he took a serio-comic farewell of the 
familv and entered his formidable dormitorv. 

" In due course morning dawned ; the sun rose, and 
a most beautiful day succeeded a very wet and dismal 
night. The family and their guests assembled in the 
breakfast room, and every countenance seemed cheered 
and brightened by the loveliness of the morning. 


They drew round the table, when the host remarked 

that Mr. S , the tenant of the haunted chamber, 

was absent. A servant was sent to summon him 
to breakfast, but he soon returned, saying he had 
knocked loudly at his door, but received no answer, 
and that a jug of hot water left there was still stand- 
ing unused. On hearing this, two or three gentlemen 
ran up to the room, and, after knocking and receiviug 
no answer, opened it and entered. It was empty. 
Inquiry was made of the servants ; they had neither 
seen nor heard anything of him. As he was a county 
magistrate, some supposed that he had gone to attend 
the Board whicb met that morning at an early hour. 

" But his horse was still in the stable, so that could 
not be. While they were at breakfast, however, he 
came in, and gave the following account of his last 
night's experiences : ' Having entered my room,' said 
he, ' I locked and bolted both the doors, carefully 
examined the whole room, and satisfied myself that 
there was no living creature in it but myself, nor any 
entrances but those which I had secured. I got into 
bed, and, witb the conviction that I should sleep 
soundly as usual till six in the morning, was soon 
lost in a comfortable slumber. Suddenly I was 
awakened, and, on raising my head to listen, I 
certainly heard a sound resembling the light soft 
tread of a lady's footstep, accompanied with the rust- 
ling as of a silk gown. I sprang out of bed, and, 
having lighted a candle, found that there was nothing 
either to be seen or heard. I carefully examined the 


whole room. I looked under the bed, into the fire- 
place, up the chimney, and at both the doors, which 
were fastened just as I had left them. I then looked 
at my watch, and found it was a few minutes past 
twelve. As all was now perfectly quiet again, I put 
out the candle, got into bed, and soon fell asleep. 
I was again aroused. The noise was now louder than 
before. It appeared like the violent rustling of a 
stiff silk dress. A second time I sprang out of bed, 
darted to the spot where the noise was, and tried to 
grasp the intruder in my arms. My arms met together, 
but enclosed nothing. The noise passed to another 
part of the room, and I followed it, groping near the 
floor to prevent anything passing under my arms. It 
was in vain, I could do nothing. The sound died at 
the doorway to the crypt, and all again was still. I 
now left the candle burning, though I never sleep 
comfortably with a light in my room, and went to 
bed again, but certainly felt not a little perplexed at 
being unable to detect the cause of the noise, nor to 
account for its cessation when the candle was 
lighted.' " 


In the Rev. John Mastin's History of Naseby, is 
cited a story of an apparition that was supposed to have 
appeared to Charles the First at Daintree, near Naseby, 
previous to the famous battle of that name. 


The army of Charles, says the historian, consisting 
of less than 5,000 foot, and about as many horse, was 
ordered to Daintree, whither the King went with a 
thorough resolution of fighting. The next day, however, 
to the surprise of Prince Eupert and all the rest of the 
army, this design was given up, and the former one of 
going to the north resumed. The reason of this alter- 
ation in his plans was alleged to he some presages of 
ill-fortune which the King had received, and which were 
related to me, says Mr. Mastin's authority, by a person 
of Newark, at that time in His Majesty's horse. About 
two hours after the King had retired to rest, said the 
narrator, some of his attendants hearing an uncommon 
noise in his chamber, went into it, where they found His 
Majesty sitting up in bed and much agitated, but nothing 
which could have produced the noise they fancied they 
had heard. The King, in a tremulous voice, inquired 
after the cause of their alarm, and told them how much 
he had been disturbed, apparently by a dream, by 
thinking he had seen an apparition of Lord Strafford, 
who, after upbraiding him for his cruelty, told him he 
was come to return him good for evil, and that he 
advised him by no means to fight the Parliament army 
that was at that time quartered at Northampton, for it 
was one which the King could never conquer by arms. 
Prince Kupert, in whom courage was the predominant 
quality, rated the King out of his apprehensions the 
next day, and a resolution was again taken to meet 
the enemy. The next night, however, the apparition 
appeared to him a second time, but with looks of anger 


assuring him that would be the last advice he should 
be permitted to give him, but that if he kept his resolu- 
tion of fighting he was undone. If His Majesty had 
taken the advice of the friendly ghost, and marched 
northward the next day, where the Parliament had few 
English forces, and where the Scots were becoming very 
discontented, his affairs might, perhaps, still have had 
a prosperous issue, or if he had marched immediately 
into the west he might afterwards have fought on more 
equal terms. But the King, fluctuating between the 
apprehensions of his imagination and the reproaches 
of his courage, remained another whole day at Daintree 
in a state of inactivity. The battle of Naseby, fought 
14th June, 1645, put a finishing stroke to the King'? 
affairs. After this he could never get together an army 
fit to look the enemy in the face. He was often heard 
to say that he wished he had taken the warning, and 
not fought at Naseby ; the meaning of which nobody 
knew but those to whom he had told of the apparition 
which he had seen at Daintree, and all of whom were, 
subsequently, charged to keep the affair secret. 


On t the 31st May 1847, Sir Joseph Noel Paton, the 
celebrated artist, wrote a letter to Mrs. Crowe, vhich 
she subsequently published in her eerie work, The 


Night Side of Nature. This letter, although it only 
recites a dream, is of a marvellous character when 
it is considered how numerous were the coincidences 
required in order to accomplish its prophetic symbolism, 
if one may so term it. The vision is so clearly por- 
trayed in Sir Joseph's own letter, and it is obviously, in 
citations of this kind, so far preferable to give the 
original words of an authority, that we print the lettei 

" That dream of my mother's was as follows," says 
Sir Joseph. " She stood in a long, dark, empty gallery : 
on one side was my father, and on the other my eldest 
sister, Amelia ; then myself, and the rest of the family 
according to their ages. At the foot of the hall stood 
my younger sister, Alexes, and above her my sister 
Catherine a creature, by the way, in person and mind 
more like an angel of heaven than an inhabitant of earth. 
We all stood silent and motionless. At last It entered 
the unimagined something that, casting its grim 
shadow before, had enveloped all the trivialities of the 
preceding dream in the stifling atmosphere of terror. It 
entered, stealthily descending the three steps that led 
from the entrance down into the chamber of horror, and 
my mother^/* It was Death. He was dwarfish, bent, 
and shrivelled. He carried on his shoulder a heavy 
axe ; and had come, she thought, to destroy * all her 
little ones at one fell swoop.' On the entrance of the 
shape my sister Alexes leapt out of the rank, interposing 
herself between him and my mother. He raised his 
axe and aimed a blow at Catherine, a blow which, to her 


horror, my mother could not intercept, though she had 
snatched up a three-legged stool, the sole furniture of 
the apartment, for that purpose. She could not, she 
felt, fling the stool at the figure without destroying 
Alexes, who kept shooting out and in between her and 
the ghastly thing. She tried in vain to scream ; she 
besought my father, in agony, to avert the impending 
stroke ; but he did not hear, or did not heed her, and 
stood motionless, as in a trance. Down came the axe, 
and poor Catherine fell in her blood, cloven to ' the 
white halse bane.' Asrain the axe was lifted bv the 
inexorable shadow, over the head of my brother, who 
stood next in the line. Alexes had somewhere dis- 
appeared behind the ghastly visitant, and with a scream 
my mother flung the footstool at his head. He vanished, 
and she awoke. 

" This dream left on my mother's mind a fearful 
apprehension of impending misfortune, ' which would 
not pass away.' It was murder she feared, and her 
suspicions were not allayed by the discovery that a man 
some time before discarded by my father for bad 
conduct, and with whom she had, somehow, associated 
the Death of her dream, had been lurking about the 
place, and sleeping in an adjoining outhouse on the 
night it occurred, and for some nights previous and 
subsequent to it. Her terror increased ; sleep forsook 
her, and every night, when the house was still, she arose 
and stole, sometimes with a candle, sometimes in the 
dark, from room to room, listening, in a sort of waking 
night-mare, for the breathing of the assassin, who, she 


imagined, was lurking in some one of them. This could 
not last. She reasoned with herself, but her terror became 
intolerable, and she related her dream to my father, who, 
of course, called her a fool for her pains whatever 
might be his real opinion of the matter. 

" Three months had elapsed, when we children were 
all of us seized with scarlet fever. My sister Catherine 
died almost immediately sacrificed, as my mother in 
her misery thought, to her (my mother's) over-anxiety 
for Alexes, whose danger seemed more imminent. The 
dream -prophecy was in part fulfilled. I also was at 
death's door given up by the doctors, but not by my 
mother : she was confident of my recovery, but for my 
brother, who was scarcely considered in danger at all, 
but on whose head she had seen the visionary axe im- 
pending, her fears were great, for she could not recollect 
whether the blow had, or had not, descended when the 
spectre vanished. My brother recovered, but relapsed, 
and barely escaped with life. But Alexes did not; for 
a year and ten months the poor child lingered, and 
almost every night I had to sing her asleep; often, I 
remember, through bitter tears ; for I knew she was 
dying, and I loved her the more as she wasted away. I 
held her little hand as she died, I followed her ;> the 
grave the last thing that I have loved on earth. And 
the dream was fulfilled. 

" Truly and sincerely yours, 

"J. Noel Faton." 



In Lord Nugent' s Memorials of John Hampden is 
cited, from a pamphlet of Charles the First's time, ono 
of the most, if not the most, marvellous account of 
two entire armies of apparitions on record. Somewhat 
similar, but more distant and weakly testified to 
phantoms, are averred to have been seen in various times 
and climes, but, as Lord Nugent points out, this 
wonderful story is " attested upon the oath of three 
officers, men of honour and discretion, and of three 
other gentlemen of credit, selected by the King as com- 
missioners to report upon these prodigies, and to tran- 
quillise and disabuse the alarms of a country town ; 
adding, moreover, in confirmation, their testimony to the 
identity of several of the illustrious dead, as seen among 
the unearthly combatants who had been well-known to 
them, and who had fallen in the battle." " A well 
supported imposture," adds Lord Nugent, " or a stormy 
night on the hill-side might have acted on the weakness 
of a peasantry in whose remembrance the terrors of the 
Edge Hill fight were still fresh;* but it is difficult to 
imagine how the minds of officers, sent there to correct 
the illusions, could have been so imposed upon. It will, 
also, be observed, that no inference is attempted by 

* The battle of Edge Hill, between the forces of the King and 
those of the Parliament, had been fought about two months previouj 
%o the first appearance of these apparitions. 


the witnesses to assist any notion of a judgment of 
warning favourable to the interests or passions of 
their own party." 

The pamphlet referred to by Lord Nugent was printed 
immediately after the events it records, on the 23rd of 
January 1642. It narrates the appearance of the late 
apparitions, and records the particulars of the Pro- 
digious Noises of War and Battle, at Edge Hill, 
near Keinton, in Northamptonshire, and its truth is 
certified to by " William Wood, Esquire and Justice for 
the Peace for the same county, and Samuel Marshall, 
Preacher of God's Word in Keinton, and other persons 
of quality." 

Omitting the introductory matter, which merely refers 
to the antiquity of, and the great mass of evidence in 
favour of the reality of apparitions, and modernizing 
the spelling, this strongly accredited pamphlet reads 
thus : - 

" Edge Hill, in the very confines of Warwickshire, 
near unto Keynton, in Northamptonshire, a place, as 
appears by the sequel, destined for civil wars and battles; 
as where King John fought a battle with his barons, and 
where, in defence of the kingdom's laws and liberty, was 
fought a bloody conflict between His Majesty's and the 
Parliament's forces. At this Edge Hill, at the very 
place where the battle was fought, have since, and doth 
appear, strange and portentous apparitions of two 
jarring and contrary armies, as I shall in order deliver, 
it being certified by men of most credit in those parts, 
as William Wood, Esquire, Samuel Marshall, Minister, 


and others, on Saturday, which was in Christmas time 
. . . Between twelve and one o'clock in the morning, 
was heard by some shepherds, and other countrymen, 
and travellers, first the sound of drums afar off, and the 
noise of soldiers, as it were, giving out their last groans; 
at which they were much amazed, and amazed stood 
still, till it seemed, by the nearness of the noise, to 
approach them; at which, too much affrighted, they 
sought to withdraw as fast as possibly they could ; but 
then, on the sudden, whilst they were in their cogita- 
tions, appeared in the air the same incorporeal soldiers 
that made those clamours, and immediately, with 
ensigns displayed, drums beating, muskets going off, 
cannons discharged, horses neighing, which also to these 
men were visible, the alarum or entrance to this game 
of death was, one army, which gave the first charge, 
having the King's colours, and the other the Parliament's 
at their head or front of the battle, and so pell-mell to 
it they went. The battle, that appeared to the King's 
forces seeming at first to have the best, but afterwards 
to be put into apparent rout. But till two or three in the 
morning in equal scale continued this dreadful fight, the 
clattering of arms, noise of cannons, cries of soldiers, 
so amazing and terrifying the poor men, that they could 
not believe they were mortal, or give credit to their 
eyes and ears ; run away they durst not, for fear of 
being made a prey to these infernal soldiers, and so 
they, with much fear and affright, stayed to behold the 
snecess of the business, which at last suited to this 
efFect. After some three hours' fight, that army which 

5 * 


carried the King's colours withdrew, or rather appeared 
to fly ; the other remaining, as it were, masters of the 
field, stayed a good space triumphing, and expressing 
all the signs of joy and conquest, and then, with all 
their drums, trumpets, ordnance, and soldiers, vanished. 
The poor men, glad that they were gone that had so 
long stayed them there against their wills, made with all 
haste to Keinton, and there knocking up Mr. Wood, a 
Justice of Peace, who called up his neighbour, Mr. 
Marshall, the Minister, they gave them an account of 
the whole passage, and averred it upon their oaths to be 
true. At which affirmation of theirs, being much 
amazed, they should hardly have given credit to it, but 
would have conjectured the men to have been either mad 
or drunk, had they not known some of them to have 
been of approved integrity ; and so, suspending their 
judgments till the next night about the same hour, they, 
with the same men, and all the substantial inhabitants 
of that and the neighbouring parishes drew thither; 
where, about half an hour after their arrival, on Sunday, 
being Christmas night, appeared in the same tumultuous 
warlike manner, the same two adverse armies, fighting 
with as much spite and spleen as formerly ; and so 
departed the gentlemen and all the spectators, much 
terrified with these visions of horror, withdrew them- 
selves to their houses, beseeching God to defend them 
from those hellish and prodigious enemies. The next 
night they appeared not, nor all that week, so that the 
dwellers thereabout were in good hope they had for ever 
departed. But on the ensuing Saturday night, in the 


same place, and at the same hour, they were again seen 
with far greater tumult, fighting in the manner afore- 
mentioned, for four hours, or very near, and then 
vanished. Appearing again on Sunday night, and per- 
forming the same actions of hostility and bloodshed, so 
that Mr. Wood and others, whose faith, it should seem, 
was not strong enough to carry them out against these 
delusions, forsook their habitations thereabout, and 
retired themselves to other more secure dwellings; but 
Mr. Marshall stayed, and some other; and so success- 
ively the next Saturday and Sunday the same tumults 
and prodigious sights and actions were put in the state 
and condition they were formerly. The rumour whereof 
coming to His Majesty at Oxford, he immediately dis- 
patched thither Colonel Lewis Kirke, Captain Dudley, 
Captain Wainman, and three other gentlemen of credit, 
to take full view and notice of the said business, who, at 
first hearing the true attestation and relation of Mr. 
Marshall and others, stayed there till the Saturday night 
following, wherein they heard and saw the fore- mentioned 
prodigies, and so on Sunday, distinctly knowing clivers 
of the apparitions, or incorporeal substances, by their 
faces, as that of Sir Edmund Varney, and others that 
were there slain, of which upon oath they made testimony 
to His Majesty. What this doth portend God only 
knoweth, and time perhaps will discover; but doubt- 
lessly it is a sign of His wrath against this land, for 
these civil wars, which He in His good time finish, 
and send a sudden peace between His Majesty and 



About the beginning of the eighteenth century stood h 
grand mansion near the head of the Canongate, the site 
of which now, however, is covered with buildings of a 
very different character. With this old mansion is 
connected a tale of terror, the circumstances of which 
were well known and talked about no longer ago than 
the beginning of the present century. A friend of Sir 
Walter Scott, in whose early life the story was still 
current, furnished him with the account from which the 
following version of the tradition is derived. 

At the period referred to, a divine of great sanctity 
was summoned in the middle of a certain night, to come 
and pray with a person at the point of death. This was 
no unusual summons, but the consequences which 
followed were very terrifying. He was forced into a 
sedan chair, and, after having been carried for a con- 
siderable distance, was set down in a remote part of 
the city, where, at the muzzle of a cocked pistol, he 
was compelled to submit to being blindfolded. In the 
course of the discussion which his remonstrances 
caused, he heard enough, and, indeed, saw enough of 
their garb, to make him conjecture that the chairmen 
were greatly above the menial position they had assumed. 

After many turnings and windings the sedan was 
carried up-stairs into an apartment, where the bandage 
was removed from his eyes, and whence he was con- 


ducted into a bed-chamber, where he found a lady 
recently delivered of an infant. He was commanded by 
one of those who had brought him to this place to say 
such prayers by the lady's bed-side as were suitable for 
a person not expected to survive a mortal disorder. The 
divine ventured to remoustrate, observing that the lady's 
appearance warranted a more hopeful condition. He 
was sternly commanded to obey his instructions, and 
so, but with much difficulty, recollected himself -suffi- 
ciently to acquit himself of the duty enjoined him. 

As soon as his ministrations were deemed performed, 
the divine was again blindfolded ; replaced in the chair, 
and hurried off, but, as he was being carried down-stairs, 
he heard the ominous report of a fire-arm. He was 
taken home safely, and a p irse of gold forced upon him ; 
but, at the same time, he was warned that the least 
allusion to the affair which had just transpired would 
cost him his life. He betook himself to his bed- 
chamber, but was speedily aroused by his servant with 
the information that a most furious fire had just broken 
out in the house of ... , near the head of the 
Canongate, and that the proprietor's daughter, a lady 
eminent for her beauty and accomplishments, had 
perished in the flames. 

Our divine had his suspicions, but to have made them 
public would have availed nothing but to jeopardise his 
Dwn safety. He was timid, and the family was one 
of power and distinction, so he soothed himself with 
the reflection that the deed was done and could not 
be undone. Time passed ou, and with it carried away 


some of his fears. He became unhappy at being the 
sole custodian of so dark a secret, and, therefore, 
gradually told it to some of his brother clergy, so that 
by degrees the whole story leaked out. 

In due course the divine died, and his terrible tale 
had become nearly forgotten, when it so happened that a 
fire broke out again on the very same site where the 
house of . . . had formerly stood, but where now stood 
buildings of an inferior style. When the flames were 
at their height, the tumult which usually attends such 
a scene, was suddenly suspended by a marvellous appa- 
rition. A beautiful female, in an extremely rich, but 
very antique style of night-dress, appeared in the very 
midst of the fire, and in an awful voice uttered these 
terrifying words: "Once burned! twice burned! the 
third time I will scare you all ! " 

"The belief in this story," says our authority, "was 
formerly so strong, that on a fire breaking out, and 
seeming to approach the fatal spot, there was a good 
deal of anxiety testified lest the apparition should make 
good her denunciation." 


On the site where Gillespie Hospital now stands, 
formerly stood an ancient mansion that some years 
after the conclusion of the American War of Inde- 


pendence, was used by the late Lieutenant-General 
Robertson of Lawers, who had served through the 
whole of the said war, as his town residence. The 
General, on his return to Europe, brought with him a 
negro called "Black Tom," who remained in his service 
as a servant. Tom's own particular room was on the 
ground floor of the residence, and he was frequently 
heard to complain that he could not rest in it, for every 
night the figure of a headless woman, carrying a child 
in her arms, rose up from the hearth and frightened him 

No one paid much attention to poor Tom's trouble, 
altlumgh the apartment had an uncanny reputation, as 
it was supposed to be the result of dreams caused by 
intoxication, the negro's character for sobriety not being 
very remarkable. But a strange thing happened when 
the General's old residence was pulled down to make 
way for James Gillespie's Hospital. There under the 
hearthstone which had caused "Black Tom" so many 
restless nights, was discovered a box containing the 
body of a woman, from which the head had been 
severed, and beside her lay the remains of an infant, 
wrapt in a pillow-case trimmed with lace. The unfor- 
tunate lady appeared to have been murdered without any 
warning; she was fully dressed, and her scissors were 
yet hanging by a ribbon to her side, and her thimble was 
also in the box, having apparently dropped from tiie 
shrivelled finger of the corpse. 



One of the most curious law suits of recent years 
occurred at Edinburgh in 1835, concerning the ghost 
disturbances in a dwelling-house at Trinity, about two 
miles or so from Edinburgh. This law-suit lasted for 
two years, and during its progress, Mr. Maurice Lothian, 
(afterwards Procurator Fiscal for the county), the advo- 
cate employed by Mr. Webster, the plaintiff, spent many 
hours in examining the numerous witnesses, several of 
whom were military officers, and gentlemen of good 
social position, but without obtaining any solution of the 
mysterious affair. The account furnished by Mr. 
Lothian himself is this : 

" Captain Molesworth took the house of a Mr. 
Webster, who resided in the adjoining one, in May 
or June 1835, and when he had been in it about two 
months, he began to complain of sundry extraordinary 
noises, which, finding it impossible to account for, he 
took it into his head, strangely enough, were made by 
Mr. Webster. The latter naturally represented that it 
was not probable he should desire to damage the reputa- 
tion of his own house, or drive his tenant out of it, and 
retorted the accusation. Still, as these noises and 
knockings continued, Captain Molesworth not only 
lifted the boards in the room most infected, but actually 
made holes in the wall which divided his residence from 
Mr. Webster's, for the purpose of detecting the delin- 
quent of course without success. Do what they 


would, the thing went on just the same ; footsteps of 
invisible feet, knockings, scratchings, and rustlings, first 
on one side, and then on the other, were heard daily 
and nightly. Sometimes this unseen agent seemed to be 
knocking to a certain tune, and if a question were 
addressed to it which could be answered numerically, 
as ' How many people are there in this room ? ' for 
example, it would answer by so many knocks. The 
beds, too, were occasionally heaved up, as if somebody 
were underneath, and where the knockings were, the 
wall trembled visibly, but, search as they would, no one 
could be found. Captain Molesworth had had two 
daughters, one of whom, named Matilda, had lately 
died ; the other, a girl between twelve and thirteen, 
called Jane, was sickly, and generally kept her bed ; and 
as it was observed that wherever she was these noises 
most frequently prevailed, Mr. Webster, who did not 
like the mala fama that was attaching itself to his 
house, declared that she made them, whilst the people 
in the neighbourhood believed that it was the ghost of 
Matilda warning her sister that she was soon to follow. 
Sheriff's officers, masons, justices of the peace, and the 
officers of the regiment quartered at Leith, who were 
friends of Captain Molesworth, all came to his aid, in 
hopes of detecting or frightening away his tormentor, 
but in vain. Sometimes it was said to be a trick of 
somebody outside the house, and then they formed a 
cordon round it ; and next, as the poor sick girl was 
suspected, they tied her up in a bag, but it was all to no 


"At length, ill and wearied out by the annoyances 
and the anxieties attending the affair, Captain Moles- 
worth quitted the house ; and Mr. Webster brought an 
action against him for the damages committed by lifting 
the boards, breaking the walls, and firing at the 
wainscot, as well as for the injury clone to his house by 
saying it was haunted, which prevented other tenants 
taking it." 

Miss Molesworth died soon after " the haunted 
house '' was quitted, hastened out of the world, so 
people declared, by the severe measures to which she 
was subjected whilst she was an object of suspicion. At 
any rate, the house became quiet after the Captain and 
his family left it, and the persons who have since 
inhabited it, so it is said, have not experienced any 
repetitions of the disturbances. 


Mr. T. Westwood, from whose most attractive com- 
munication to Notes and Queries on the subject of 
" Ghosts and Haunted Houses," an excerpt is made in 
another portion of this work, gives the following 
account of a most singular and, as far as our knowledge 
of such things extends, unique experience. According 
to Mr, Westwood's narrative, which no one has as yet 
appeared to question, he on one occasion was directly 
and personally " under ghostly influences," or what 


appeared to be such. His story is, that a in a lonely 
neighbourhood on the verge of Ecfield Chace, stands an 
old house, much beaten by wind and weather. It was 
inhabited when I knew it," states Mr. Westwood, "by 
two elderly people, maiden sisters, with whom I had 
some acquaintance, and who once invited me to dine 
with them, and meet a circle of local guests. I well 
remember my walk thither. It led me up a steep ascent 
of oak avenue, openiDg out at the top on what was 
called the * ridge-road' of the Chace. 

" It was the close of a splendid autumn afternoon* 
through the mossy boles of the great oaks I saw 

. . . The golden autumn woodland reel 
Athwart the emoke of burning flowers . , , 


On reaching my destination, the sun had already 
dipped below the horizon, and the eastern front of the 
house projected a black shadow at its foot. What was 
there in the aspect of the pile that reminded me of the 
corpse described by the poet the corpse that 

Was calm and cold, as it did hold 

Some secret, glorying ? 

I crossed the threshold with repugnance. 

" Having some changes to make in my attire, a 
servant led the way to an upper chamber, and left me 
No sooner was he gone than I became conscious of a 
peculiar sound in the room a sort of shuddering 
sound in the room, as of suppressed dread. It 
seemed close to me. I gave little heed to it at first, 
setting it down for the wind in the chimney, or a 


draught from the half open door ; but moving about 
the room, I perceived that the sound moved with me. 
Whichever way I turned it followed me. I went to the 
furthest extremity of the chamber it was there also. 
Beginning to feel uneasy, and being quite unable to 
account for the singularity, I completed my toilet in 
haste, and descended to the drawing-room, hoping I 
should thus leave the uncomfortable sound behind me, 
but not so. It was on the landing, on the stair, it 
went down with me, alwavs the same sound of shudder- 
ing horror, faint, but audible, and always close at hand. 
Even at the dinner- table, when the conversation flagged, 
I heard it unmistakably several times, and so near, that, 
if there was an entity connected with it, we ivere tico on 
one cJiair. It seemed to be noticed by nobody else, but 
t ended by harassing and distressing me, and I was 
relieved to think that I had not to sleep in the house 
that night. 

" At an early hour, several of the guests having far 
to go, the party broke up, and it was a satisfaction to 
me to breathe the fresh, wholesome air of the night, and 
feel rid at last of my shuddering incubus. 

" When I saw my hosts again, it was under another 
and ttnhaunted roof. On my telling them what had 
occurred to me, they smiled and said it was perfectly 
true, but added they were so used to the sound it had 
ceased to perturb them. Sometimes, they said, it would 
be quiet for weeks, at others it followed them from room 
to room, from floor to floor, pertinaciously, as it had 
followed me. They could give me no explanation of 


the phenomenon. It was a sound., no more, and quite 

"Perhaps so, hnt of what strange horror," demands 
Mr. Westwood, "not ended with life, but perpetuated 
in the limbo of invisible things, was that sound the 
exponent ? " 


The story of Lord Lyttleton's "warning," as it is 
termed, has been frequently told, and almost as fre- 
quently attempts have been made to explain it away. 
Up to the present time, however, it must be confessed 
that all the evidence, circumstantial though it be, is 
in favour of the original tellers of the tale. Well 
known though the story be, it must not be omitted from 
this collection. 

Thomas, the second Lord Lyttleton, had long led a life 
of dissipation. As he lay in bed one night at Pitt Place, 
Epsom, he was awakened out of his sleep, according to 
his own account, by a noise like the fluttering of a bird 
about the curtains. On opening his eyes he saw the 
apparition of a woman, who was, it is generally 
supposed, Mrs. Amphlett, the mother of a lady he had 
seduced, and who had just died of a broken heart. 
Dreadfully shocked, he called out, "What do you 


" I have come to warn you of your death/' was the 

" Shall I not live two months ? " he asked. 

"No; you will die within three days," was the 

The following day Lord Lyttleton was observed to he 
much agitated in his mind, and when questioned as to 
the cause, informed several persons of the apparition. 
By the third day, which was a Saturday, he was observed 
to have grown very thoughtful, but he attempted to carry 
it off by saying to those about him, "Why do you look 
so grave ? Are you thinking about the ghost ? I am 
as well as ever I was in my life." 

He invited company to dinner, doubtless expecting 
in the midst of society to get rid of unwelcome thoughts. 
In the evening he said to his guests, " A few hours 
more and I shall jockey the ghost." At eleven o'clock 
he retired to his bed-room, and after a time began to 
undress himself. Meanwhile his servant was preparing 
a rhubarb draught for him, according to custom; but, 
having nothing to mix it with, went out of the room 
for a spoon. By the time he returned Lord Lyttleton 
was getting into bed, but before the man could give him 
the draught, he reclined his head back on the pillow, 
fell into convulsions, and died. The servant's cries 
aroused the household, they hastened to his assistance, 
but it was useless, for all was over. 

The sequel to this story is as singular, but is less 
generally known, although quite as well testified to, as 
reference to the preface to Croker's edition of Bosweli's 


Life of Johnson will show. Mr. Miles Peter Andrews, 
the intimate friend of Lord Lyttleton, lived at Dartford, 
about thirtv miles off. Mr. Andrews was entertaining 
a large company at his place, and expected a visit from 
Lord Lyttleton, whom he had just left, apparently in 
good health. Disturbed, however, by the impressive 
message he had received from the apparition, the noble- 
man, without giving Mr. Andrews any intimation of his 
intention, had determined to postpone his visit. 

On the evening of the Saturday, Mr. Andrews finding 
Lord Lyttleton did not arrive, and feeling somewhat 
indisposed, retired to bed somewhat early, leaving one 
of his guests to do the honours of the supper-table on 
his behalf. He went to bed in a somewhat feverish 
condition, but had not been lying down long when the 
curtains at the foot of his bed were drawn open, and 
he beheld his friend standing before him, in a large- 
figured bed-gown which was always kept in the house 
for Lord Lyttleton's exclusive use. Mr. Andrews at 
once imagined that his friend had arrived alter he had 
retired to rest, as he had so positively promised to come 
that day, and knowing how fond the nobleman was of 
practical joking, cried out to him, "You are at some 
of your tricks ; go to bed, or I will throw something at 
you." The reply to which was " // 's all over with me* 

Still deeming it was Lord Lyttleton joking with him, 
Mr. Andrews stretched his arm out of the bed, and, 
seizing one of his slippers, the nearest thing he could 
get hold of, he flung it at the figure, which then retreated 



to the dressing-room, whence there was no mean* of 
egress. Upon this Mr. Andrews jumped out of bed, 
intending to follow and punish his friend for startling 
him, hut could find nobody in that room, nor in his 
bed-room, the bolt of which was in its place. He rang 
his bell, and inquired of the servants where Lord Lyttle- 
tonwas; but no one had seen him, and the nightgown, 
when sought for, was found in its usual place. Mr. 
Andrews, getting annoyed, and unable to solve the 
mystery, ordered that no bed was to be given to the 
nobleman, who might find one at the inn for serving 
him such a trick. 

The next morning, Mrs. Pigou, the guest who had 
headed Mr. Andrew's table when he retired, departed 
early for London, and on arriving there heard of Lord 
Lyttleton's death ; she sent an express to Dartford to 
inform Mr. Andrews, who, when he received the news, 
was so shocked that he swooned away, and, to use his 
own words, " was not his own man again, for three years." 


In 1716, the Rev. Samuel Wesley, father of the 
famous John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, was 
rector of Epworth, in Lincolnshire. During the months 
of December 1716, and January 1717, the parsonage 
was haunted in a most unpleasant fashion. The rector 
kept a diary in which the disturbances were recorded., 
and which eventually formed the basis of the narrative 



afterwards compiled by his well-known son, for the 
Arminian Magazine. This account, supplemented by 
personal inquiries, and carefully written statement of 
each member of the household, forms not only one of 
the most marvellous, but also one of the best authen- 
ticated cases of haunted houses on record. The famous 
Dr. Priestley, and the equally well-known Dr. Adam 
Clark, both furnish voluminous particulars of the affair, 
the latter devoting forty-six pages of his Memoirs of the 
Wesley Family to the narrative. In his Life of Wesley 
Southey, in reproducing the accounts of the mysterious 
disturbances, remarks that, " An author who, in this 
age, relates such a story and treats it as not utterly in- 
credible and absurd, must expect to be ridiculed ; but 
the testimony upon which it rests is far too strong to be 
set aside because of the strangeness of the relation." 

It is needless to reproduce anything like a complete 
account of the disturbances at Epworth Parsonage, so 
the reader must be content to have in a somewhat 
abridged form the narrative drawn up by John Wesley, 
supplemented by a few additional data gathered from 
other equally reliable sources. 

" On December 2, 1716," says John Wesley, " while 
Robert Brown, my father's servant, was sitting with one 
of the maids, a little before ten at night, in the dining- 
room which opened into the garden, they both heard 
someone knocking at the door. Robert rose and opened 
it, but could see nobody. Quickly it knocked again and 
groaned. ' It is Mr. Turpine,' said Robert, ' he used 
to groan so.' He opened the door again twice or thrice, 

6 * 


the knocking being twice or thrice repeated ; but still 
seeing nothing, and being a little startled, they rose up 
and went to bed. When Robert came to the top of the 
garret stairs, he saw a handmill, which was at a little 
distance, whirled about very swiftly. When he related 
this he said, ' Nought vexed me but that it was empty. 
I thought if it had been but full of malt he might have 
ground his hand out for me.' When he was in bed, he 
heard as it were the gobbling of a turkey-cock close to 
the bed-side, and soon after the sound of one stumbliug 
over his shoes and boots ; but there was none there, 
he had left them below. The next day he and the maid 
related these things to the other maid, who laughed 
heartily, and said, * What a couple of fools you are ! 
I defy anything to fright me ! ' After churning in the 
evening, she put the butter in the tray, and had no 
sooner carried it into the dairy than she heard a knock- 
ing on the shelf where several puncheons of milk stood, 
first above the shelf, then below. She took the candle 
and searched both above and below, but, being able to 
find nothing, threw down butter, tray, and all, and ran 
away for life. 

"The next evening, between five and six o'clock, my 
sister Molly, then about twenty years of age, sitting 
in the dining-room reading, heard as if it were the door 
that led into the hall open, and a person walking in that 
seemed to have on a silk nightgown, rustling and trailing 
along. It seemed to walk round her, and then to the 
door, then round again ; but she could see nothing. 
She thought, 'It signifies nothing to run away; for, 


whatever it is, it can run faster than me.' So she rose, 
put her book under her arm, and walked slowly away. 
After supper, she was sitting with my sister Sukey 
(about a year older than her), in one of the chambers, 
and telling her what had happened. She made quite 
light of it, telling her, ' I wonder you are so easily 
frightened. I would fain see what would frighten me/ 
Presently a knocking began under the table. She took 
the candle and looked, but could find nothing. Then 
the iron casement began to clatter. Next the catcfc 
of the door moved up and down without ceasing. She 
started up, leaped into the bed without undressing, 
pulled the bed-clothes over her head, and never ventured 
to look up until next morning. 

" A night or two after, my sister Hetty (a year younger 
than my sister Molly) was waiting as usual between nine 
and ten, to take away my father's candle, when she 
heard someone coming down the garret stairs, walking 
slowly by her, then going slowly down the best stairs, 
then up the back stairs and up the garret stairs, 
and at every step it seemed the house shook from top 
to bottom. Just then my father knocked, she went in, 
took his candle, and got to bed as fast as possible. 
In the morning she told it to my eldest sister, who told 
her, ' You know T believe none of these things ; pray 
let me take away the candle to-night, and I will find 
out the trick.' She accordingly took my sister Hetty's 
place, and had no sooner taken away the candle, than 
she heard a noise below. She hastened down-stairs to 
the hall, where the noise was, but it was then in the 


kitchen. She ran into the kitchen, when it was drum* 
mins on the inside of the screen. When she went round 
it was drumming on the outside, and so always on the 
side opposite to her. Then she heard a knocking at the 
back kitchen door. She ran to it, unlocked it softly, 
and, when the knocking was repeated, suddenly opened 
it, but nothing was to be seen. As soon as- she had shut 
it, the knocking began again. She opened it again, but 
could see nothing. When she went to shut the door, 
it was violently knocked against her; but she set her knee 
and her shoulder to the door, forced it to, and turned 
the key. Then the knocking began again ; but she 
let it go on, and went up to bed. However, from that 
time she was thoroughly convinced that there was no 
imposture in the affair. 

" The next morning, my sister telling my mother 
what had happened, she said, ' If I hear anything 
myself, I shall know how to judge.' Soon after she 
begged her mother to come into the nursery. She did, 
and heard, in the corner of the room, as it were the 
violent rocking of a cradle; but no cradle had been 
there for some years. She was convinced it was preter- 
natural, and earnestly prayed it might not disturb her 
in her own chamber at the hours of retirement; and 
it never did. She now thought it was proper to tell 
my father. But he was extremely angry, and said, 
* Sukey, I am ashamed of you. These boys and girls 
frighten one another ; but you are a woman of sense, 
and should know better. Let me hear of it no more.' 

"At six in the evening he had family prayers as 


usual. When he began the prayer for the King, a 
knocking began all round the room, and a thundering 
knock attended the Amen. The same was heard from 
this time every morning and evening while the prayer 
for the King was repeated. As both my father and 
mother are now at rest, and incapable of being pained 
thereby, I think it my duty to furnish the serious reader 
with a key to this circumstance. 

" The year before King William died, my father 
observed my mother did not say Amen to the prayer for 
the King. She said she would not, for she did not 
believe the Prince of Orange was King. He vowed he 
would never cohabit with her until she did. He then 
took his horse and rode away, nor did she hear anything 
of him for a twelvemonth. He then came back and 
lived with her as before. But I fear his vow was not 
forgotten before God." 

" Being informed that Mr. Hoole, the vicar of 
Haxey," resumes John Wesley, " could give me some 
further information, I walked over to him. He said," 
referring to the bygone disturbances at Epworth Parson- 
age, " Robert Brown came over to me and told me your 
father desired my company ; when I came, he gave me an 
account of all that had happened, particularly the knock- 
ing during family prayer. But that evening (to my great 
satisfaction) we heard no knocking at all. But between 
nine and ten a servant came in and said, ' Old Jeffrey is 
coming (that was the name of one that had died in the 
house), for I hear the signal.' This, they informed me, 
was heard every night about a quarter before ten. It 

88 fiAUNTEfc HOMES* 

was towards the top of the Louse, on the outside, at 
the north-east corner, resembling the loud creaking of 
a saw, or rather that of a windmill, when tbe body of 
it is turned about in order to shift the sails to the wind. 
We then heard a knocking over our heads, and Mr. 
Wesley, catching up a candle, said, ' Come, Sir, now you 
shall hear for yourself.' We went up-stairs, he with 
much hope, and I (to say the truth) with much fear. 
When we came into the nursery, it was knocking in the 
next room : when we went there, it was knocking in 
the nursery; and there it continued to knock, though 
we came in, and particularly at the head of the bed 
(which was of wood) in which Miss Hetty and two of 
her younger sisters lay. Mr. Wesley, observing that 
they were much affected, though asleep, sweating, and 
trembling exceeding, was very angry, and, pulling 
out a pistol, was going to fire at the place whence 
the sound came. But I snatched him by the arm and 
said, ' Sir, you are convinced that this is something 
preternatural. If so, you cannot hurt it, but you give it 
power to hurt you.' He then went close to the place 
and said, sternly : ' Thou deaf and dumb devil ! why dost 
thou fright these children who cannot answer for them- 
selves I Come to me, in my study, that am a man ! ' 
Instantly it knocked his knock (the particular knock 
which he always used at the gate), as if it would shiver 
the board to pieces, and we heard nothing more that 

Commenting upon this portion of the narrative, as 
furnished by the Kev. Mr. Hoole, John Wesley remarks : 


" Till this time my father had never heard the least 
disturbance in his study. But the next evening, as he 
attempted to go into his study (of which none had the 
key but himself), when he opened the door it was thrust 
back with such violence as had like to have thrown him 
down. However, he thrust the door open, and went in. 
Presently there was a knocking, first on one side, then 
on the other, and, after a time, in the next room, 
wherein my sister Nancy was. He went into that room, 
and, the noise continuing, adjured it to speak, but in 
vain. He then said, ' These spirits love darkness : put 
out the candle, and perhaps it will speak.' She did so, 
and he repeated the adjuration ; but still there was only 
knocking, and no articulate sound. Upon this he said, 
' Nancy, two Christians are an overmatch for the devil. 
Go all of you down-stairs, it may be when I am alone 
he will have courage to speak.' When she was gone, a 
thought came into his head, and he said, * If thou art 
the spirit of my son Samuel, I pray knock three knocks, 
and no more.' Immediately all was silence, and there 
was no more knocking at all that night. I asked my 
sister Nancy (then fifteen years old), whether she was 
not afraid when my father used that adjuration. She 
answered she was sadly afraid it would speak when she 
put out the candle, but she was not at all afraid in the 
day-time, when it walked after her, only she thought 
when she was about her work, he might have clone it 
for her and saved her the trouble." 

"By this time," continues John Wesley, "all my 
sisters were so accustomed to these noises, that they 


gave them little disturbance. A gentle tapping at their 
bed-head usually began between nine and ten at night. 
They then commonly said to each other, * Jeffrey is 
coming; it is time to go to sleep.' And if they heard 
a noise in the day, and said to my youngest sister, 
' Hark, Kezzy, Jeffrey is knocking above,' she would run 
upstairs, and pursue it from room to room, saying she 
desired no better diversion. 

"My father and mother had just gone to bed/' says 
Wesley, citing another instance of these mysterious 
disturbances, " and the candle was not taken away, 
when they heard three blows, and a second and a third 
three, as it were with a large oaken staff, struck upon a 
chest which stood by the bedside. My father im- 
mediately arose, put on his nightgown, and, hearing 
great noises below, took the candle and went down ; my 
mother walked by his side. As they went down the 
broad stairs, they heard as if a vessel full of silver was 
poured upon my mother's breast and ran jingling down 
to her feet. Quickly after, there was a sound as if a 
large iron bell were thrown among many bottles under 
the stairs ; but nothing was hurt. Soon after, our large 
mastiff dog came, and ran to shelter himself between 
them. While the disturbances continued he used to 
bark and leap, and snap on one side and the other, and 
that frequently before any person in the room heard any 
noise at all. But after two or three days he used to 
tremble, and creep away before the noise began. And 
by this the family knew it was at hand ; nor did the 
observation ever fail. 



A little before my father and mother came into the 
hall," says Wesley, resuming the thread of his story, 
"it seemed as if a very large coal was violently thrown 
upon the floor, and dashed all in pieces ; but nothing 
was seen. Mv father then cried out, ' Sukev, do vou 
not hear ? all the pewter is thrown about the kitchen.' 
But when they looked all the pewter stood in its place. 
Then there was a loud knocking at the back door. My 
father opened it, but saw nothing. It was then at the 
front door. He opened that, but it was still lost labour, 
After opening first the one, then the other, several times, 
he turned and went up to bed. But the noises were so 
violent all over the house that he could not sleep till 
four in the morning. 

" Several gentlemen and clergymen now earnestly 
advised my father," concludes Wesley, " to quit the 
house. But he constantly answered, 'No : let the devil 
flee from me ; I will never flee from the devil.' But he 
wrote to my eldest brother, at London, to come down. 
He was preparing so to do, when another letter came 
informing him the disturbances were over, after they had 
continued (the latter part of the time day and night), 
from the 2nd of December to the end of January." 

The elder Wesley's diary fully confirms all the more 
remarkable portions of John Wesley's Narrative, and 
even mentions some curious incidents not given by the 
son : for instance, the Rev. Samuel says, " I have been 
thrice pushed by an invisible power, once against the 
corner of my desk in the study, a second time against 
the door of the matted chamber, a third time against 



the right side of the frame of my study-door, as I was 
going in." 

On the 25th December he records, " Our mastiff came 
whining to us, as he did always after the first night of 
its coming ; for then he barked violently at it, but was 
silent afterwards, and seemed more afraid than any of 
the children/' 

John Wesley, also, received several lengthy letters 
from various members of the family, corroborating the 
various details already given, but these communications 
are too lengthy to cite, besides being frequently but 
repetitions of the same, or similar stories. From a 
letter written by Emily Wesley (afterwards Mrs. Harper), 
some extracts, however, may be given. " A whole 
month was sufficient to convince anybody," she writes, 
" of the reality of the thing. ... I shall only tell you 
what I myself heard, and leave the rest to others. 

" My sisters in the paper-chamber had heard noises, 
and told me of them, but I did not much believe till 
one night, about a week after the first groans were heard, 
which was the beginning. Just after the clock struck 
ten, I went down-stairs to lock the doors, which I 
always do. Scarce had T got up the west stairs, when 
I heard a noise like a person throwing down a vast coal 
in the middle of the fore kitchen. I was not much 
frighted, but went to my sister Sukey, and we together 
went all over the lower rooms, but there was nothing 
out of order. Our dog was fast asleep, and our only cat 
in the other end of the house. No sooner was I got 
up- stairs and undressing for bed, but I heard a noise 


. . . This made me hasten to bed. But my sister, 
Hetty, who sits always to wait on my father, going to 
bed, was still sitting on the lowest step of the garret 
stairs, the door being shut at her back, when, soon after, 
there came down the stairs behind her something like 
a man in a loose night-gown trailing after him, which 
made her fly rather than run to me in the nursery." 
Emily Wesley, the writer of these words, it may be 
added, appeared to believe herself followed by this 
manifestation through life. When writing to her brother 
John, thirty-four years after the Epworth disturbances 
had taken place, she alludes to " that wonderful thing 
called by us Jeffrey " as calling upon her before any 
extraordinary new affliction. 

In summing up the general circumstances attendant 
upon the disturbances in their household, John Wesley 
remarks : 

" Before it came into any room, the latches were fre- 
quently lifted up, the windows clattered, and whatever 
iron or brass was about the chamber rung and jarred 
exceedingly. - 

" When it was in any room, let them make what noise 
they would, as they sometimes did, its dead hollow note 
would be clearly heard above them all. 

" The sound very often seemed in the air in trhe 
middle of a room ; nor could they ever make any such 
themselves, by any contrivance. 

"It never came by day till my mother ordered the 
born to be blown. After that time scarce anyone 
could go from one room into another but the latch 


of the room they went to was lifted up before they 
touched it. 

" It never came into my father's study till he talked 
to it sharply, calling it a deaf and dumb devil, and bid 
it cease to disturb the innocent children, and come to 
him in his study if it had anything to say to him. 

" From the time of my mother desiring it not to 
disturb her from five to six, it was never heard in her 
chamber from five till she came down-stairs, nor at anv 
other time when she was employed in devotion." 

No satisfactory explanation of these remarkable cir- 
cumstances has ever, so far as we can discover, 
been afforded. 


Miss Anna Maria Porter, the authoress, and, sister 
of the still better known writer, Jane Porter, authoress 
of The Scottish Chiefs, at one period of her life resided 
at Esher, in Surrey. An aged gentleman of her 
acquaintance, who lived in the same place, was accus- 
tomed to visit at her house almost daily, generally 
making his appearance in the evening, when he would 
take a cup of tea and read the paper. 

One evening Miss Porter saw.him enter the room as 
usual, and seat himself at the table, but without saying 
a word. She addressed some remark to him, but 
received no reply, and, after a few seconds, was surprised 

ETON. 95 

to see him rise and leave the room without uttering a 

Fearing that he might have been taken ill suddenly, 
Miss Porter sent a servant to his house to make 
inquiries. She sent at once, but the answer the servan! - 
brought back was that the old gentleman had died 
suddenly about an hour before. 

Miss Anna Maria, it is avowed, believed that she had 
seen an apparition, and was herself the authority for 
this story. 


Several writers of a past generation, including Joseph 
Glanvill. were fond of relating the story of Major 
Sydenham and his friend, Captain William Dyke, but it 
appears to have escaped the researches of modern 
commentators on the Supernatural. Shortly after the 
death of Major Sydenham, Dr. Thomas Dyke called on 
his cousin, Captain William Dyke, of Skilgate, in the 
county of Somersetshire, and agreed to pass the night 
with him. At the captain's request, Dr. Dyke agreed to 
sleep in the same bed with his cousin, but previous to 
composing himself to sleep, the Doctor was aroused by 
his companion calling up a servant and bidding the man 
bring him two of the largest candles he could obtain, 
and have them lighted. 

The Doctor naturally inquired what these were 


intended for, to which the Captain answered: "You 
know, cousin, what disputes the Major and I have had 
touching the immortality of the soul, on which point we 
could never yet be resolved, though we so much desired it. 
And, therefore, it was at length fully agreed between us, 
that he who died first should, the third night after his 
funeral, between the hours of twelve and one, come to 
the little house which is here in the garden, and there 
give a full account touching these matters to the 
survivor, who should be sure to be present there at the 
set time, and so receive a full satisfaction. And this," 
says the Captain, " is the very night, and I am come on 
purpose to my present lodging to fulfil my promise." 

The Doctor advised him not to follow strange 
counsels, for which he could have no warrant. The 
Captain replied, " that he had solemnly engaged," and 
that nothing should discourage him ; and added, " that 
if the Doctor should wake awhile with him, he would 
shake him, if not, he might compose himself to rest ; 
but, for his own part, he was resolved to watch, that he 
might be sure to be present at the hour appointed." To 
that purpose he set his watch by him, and as soon as he 
perceived that it was half an hour past eleven, he arose, 
and taking a candle in each hand, went out by a back 
door, of which he had before got the key, and walked 
into the garden house, where he continued two hours 
and a half. At his return he declared he had neither 
seen nor heard anything more than usual. "But I 
know," said he, " that the Major would sureiy nay$ 
come had he been able." 

ETON. 97 

About six weeks after, the Captain rode to Eton, to 
place his son a scholar there, when the Doctor went 
thither with him. They lodged at the sign of the 
" Christopher," and tarried two or three nights, not 
lying together njw, as before at Dulverton,but in two 
several chambers. The morning before they went away, 
the Captain stayed in his chamber longer than usual, 
before he called the Doctor. At length he came into the 
chamber, but with his body shaking and trembling. 
Whereat the Doctor, wondering, presently demanded, 
" What is the matter ? " The Captain replied, " I have 
seen the Major." The Doctor seeming to smile, the 
Captain said, " If ever I saw him in my life, I saw him 
but now," and then related to the Doctor what had 
passed. " This morning, after it was light,*' said he, 
u one came to my bedside, and suddenly drawing back 
the curtains, called, ' Captain ! Captain ! ' To whom I 
replied, ' What, Major ? ' To which he returned, 'I 
could not come at the time appointed, but I am now 
come to tell you, That there is a God, and a very 
just and terrible one, and if you do not turn over a 
new leaf (the very expression the Doctor punctually 
remembered) you shall find it so.* " The Captain pro- 
ceeded : " On the table there lay a sword which the 
Major had formerly given me, and after the apparition 
had walked a turn or two about the chamber, he took 
up the sword, drew it, and finding it not so bright as it 
ought to be, cried, c Captain ! Captain ! this sword did 
not use to be kept after this manner when it was mine*' 
After which he presently disappeared." 



The Captain was not only thoroughly persuaded of 
the truth of what he had seen and heard, but was from 
that time observed to have become quite an altered man. 
And it was judged, by those who were well acquainted with 
his conversation, that the remembance of this passage 
stuck close to him ; and that those words of his dead 
friend were frequently sounding in his ears during the 
remainder of his life ; which was something more than 
two years. 


One of our ancient castles that has long had a reputa- 
tion for the hauntings and the apparitions that trouble it 
is Glamis or Glammis Castle, in Forfarshire, the seat of 
Lord Strathmore. Although the whole pile of buildings 
appears to suffer under the ban, there is one particular 
chamber which is especially known as "the Haunted 
Room." Access to this ominous chamber is said to be now 
cut off by a stone wall, and none are supposed to be 
acquainted with its locality save Lord Strathmore, his 
heir, and the factor of the estate. This wall is alleged 
to have been erected some few years ago by order of the 
late proprietor, in consequence of certain mysterious 
sights and sounds which he had both seen and heard. 

"There is no doubt," writes a correspondent of Dr. 
Lee, " about the reality of the noises at Glamis Castle. 
Oh one occasion, some years ago, the head of the family. 


with several companions, was determined to investigate 
the cause. One night, when the disturbance was 
greater, and more violent and alarming than usual and, 
it should be premised, strange, weird, and unearthly 
sounds had often been heard, and by many persons, 
some quite unacquainted with the ill-repute of the 
the castle his lordship went to the Haunted Eoom, 
opened the door with a key, and dropped back in a dead 
swoon into the arms of hjs companions; nor could he 
ever be induced to open his lips on the subject after- 

A well-known antiquary furnishes the following 
local legend connected with the old stronghold, to 
account for the sights and noises heard about it. He 
states that the tradition is that in olden time, during one 
of the constant feuds between the Lindsays and the 
Ogilvies, a number of the latter clan, flying from their 
enemies, came to Glamis Castle and begged hospitality 
of the owner. He did not like to deny them the shelter 
of his castle walls, and therefore admitted them, but, on 
the plea of hiding them, so it is averred, he secured them 
all in a large out-of-the-way chamber that afterwards 
known as the haunted one and there left them to starve. 
Their bones lie there till this day, according to the 
common tradition, their bodies never having been 
removed. It has been suggested that it was the sight 
of these which so startled the late Lord Strathmore on 
entering the room, and which caused him, subsequently, 
to have it walled up. The scene is believed to have 
been particularly horrifying, some of the unfortunate 


captives having died apparently in the act of gnawing 
the flesh from their arms. 

Thus much for the tradition that accounts for the 
weird disturbances which, if Dr. Lee's correspondent 
may he credited, were still in a state of activity not very 
long ago. Among other strange instances, the writer 
states that " on one occasion a lady and her child were 
staying for a few days at the castle. The child was asleep 
in an adjoining dressing-room, and the lady, having 
gone to bed, lay awake for awhile. Suddenly a cold blast 
stole into the room, extinguishing the night-light by her 
bedside, but not affecting the one in the dressing-room 
beyond, in which her child had its cot. By that light 
she saw a tall mailed figure pass into the dressing-room 
from that in which she was lying. Immediately there- 
after there was a shriek from the child. Her maternal 
instinct was aroused. She rushed into the dressing- 
room and found the child in an agony of fear. It 
described what it had ssen as a giant, who came and 
leant over its face." 

We are unable to learn when this disturbing appa- 
rition appeared, but it is to be hoped not since Lord 
Strathmore had the Haunted Boom walled up ; that, it 
is most devoutly to be hoped, shut in all unpleasant 
sights, even if it could not quite suppress the sounds, 

ji p ii ;^* 



There is a somewhat well-known story, of an extremely 
startling character, related by Mrs. Crowe, under the title 
of the " Glasgow Hell Club," in that chapter of The Night 
Side of Nature styled " The Future that Awaits us." 
The story, notwithstanding its sensationalism, is declared 
to be a relation of facts, of which a contemporary 
account was published, but was bought up by the family 
of the chief actor in the drama. As usual in such 
cases, a few copies escaped destruction, and the narrative 
was reprinted and widely diffused. Mrs. Crowe's version 
of this " undoubted and well attested fact," is as follows: 
" Some ninety years ago, there flourished in Glasgow 
a club of young men, which, from the extreme pro- 
fligacy of its members and the licentiousness of their 
orgies, w r as commonly called the ' Hell Club.' Besides 
these nightly or weekly meetings, they held one grand 
annual saturnalia, in which each tried to excel the 
other in drunkenness and blasphemy ; and on these 
occasions there was no star amongst them whose lurid 
light was more conspicuous than that of young Mr. 
Archibald B., who, endowed with brilliant talents and 
a handsome person, had held out great promise in 
his boyhood, and raised hopes, which had been com- 
pletely frustrated by his subsequent reckless dissi- 


" One morning, after returning from this annual 
festival, Mr. Archibald B., having retired to bed, 
dreamt the following dream : 

" He fancied that he himself was mounted on a 
favourite black horse that he alwavs rode, and that 
he was proceeding towards his own house, then a 
country seat embowered by trees, and situated upon 
a hill, now entirely built over and forming part of the 
city, when a stranger, whom the darkness of night 
prevented his distinctly discerning, suddenly seized his 
horse's reins, saying, * You must go with me ! ' 

" ( And who are you?' exclaimed the young man, 
with a volley of oaths, whilst he struggled to free 

'"That you will see by and by,' returned the other, 
in a tone that excited unaccountable terror in the 
youth, who, plunging his spurs into his horse, 
attempted to fly. But in vain : however fast the 
animal flew, the stranger was still beside him, till at 
length, in his desperate efforts to escape, the rider 
was thrown, but instead of being dashed to the earth, 
as he expected, he found himself falling falling 
foiling still, as if sinking into the bowels of the 

"At length, a period being put to this mysterious 
descent, he found breath to inquire of his companion, 
who was still beside him, whither they were going : 
* Where am I ? where are you taking me ? ' he ex- 

" ' To hell ! ' replied the stranger, and immediately 


interminable echoes repeated the fearful sound, ' To 
hell ! to hell ! to hell ! ' 

"At length a light appeared, which soon increased 
to a blaze ; but instead of the cries and groans, and 
lamentiugs the terrified traveller expected, nothing 
met his ear but sounds of music, mirth and jollity; 
and he found himself at the entrance of a superb 
building, far exceeding any he had seen constructed 
by human hands. Within, too, what a scene! No 
amusement, employment, or pursuit of man on earth, 
but was here being carried on with a vehemence that 
excited his unutterable amazement. ' There the young 
and lovely still swam through the mazes of the giddy 
dance ! There the panting steed still bore his brutal 
rider through the excitement of the goaded race ! 
There, over the midnight bowl, the intemperate still 
drawled out the wanton song or maudlin blasphemy ! 
The gambler plied for ever his endless game, and the 
slaves of Mammon toiled through eternity their bitter 
task ; whilst all the magnificence of earth paled before 
that which now met his view ! ' 

" He soon perceived that he was amongst old 
acquaintances whom he knew to be dead, and each, he 
observed, was pursuing the object, whatever it was, that 
had formerly engrossed him ; when, finding himself 
relieved of the presence of his unwelcome conductor, 
he ventured to address his former friend, Mrs. D., whom 
he saw sitting as had been her wont on earth, absorbed 
at loo, requesting her to rest from the game, and intro 
duce him to the pleasures of the place, which appeared 


to him to be very unlike what he had expected and, 
indeed, an extremely agreeable one. But with a cry of 
agony, she answered, that there was no rest in hell; 
that they must ever toil on at those very pleasures; and 
innumerable voices echoed through the interminable 
vaults, ' There is no rest in hell ! ' Whilst, throwing 
open their vest, each disclosed in his bosom an ever- 
burning flame ! These, they said, were the pleasures 
of hell ; their choice on earth was now their inevitable 
doom ! In the midst of the horror this scene inspired, 
his conductor returned, and, at his earnest entreaty, 
restored him again to earth ; but as he quitted him, 
he said, ' Remember ; in a year and a day we meet 
again ! ' 

" At this crisis of his dream the sleeper awoke feverish 
and ill ; and whether from the effects of the dream, 
or of his preceding orgies, he was so unwell as to be 
obliged to keep his bed for several days, during which 
period he had time for many serious reflections, which 
terminated in a resolution to abandon the club and 
his licentious companions altogether. 

" He was no sooner well, however, than they flocked 
around him, bent on recovering so valuable a member 
of their society ; and having wrung from him a confession 
of the cause of his defection, which, as may be supposed, 
appeared to them eminently ridiculous, they soon con- 
trived to make him ashamed of his good resolutions. 
He joined them again, resumed his former course of life, 
and when the annual saturnalia came round, he found 
himself with his glass in his hand, at the table, when 


the president, rising to make the accustomed speech, 
began by saying, ' Gentlemen : this being leap-year 
it is a year and a day since our last anniversary,' &c. &c. 
The words struck upon the young man's ear like 
a knell ; but ashamed to expose his weakness to the jeers 
of his companions, he sat out the feast, plying himself 
with wine even more liberally than usually, in order 
to drown his intrusive thoughts ; till, in the gloom of 
a winter's morning he mounted his horse to ride home. 
Some hours afterwards, the horse was found with his 
saddle and bridle on, quietly grazing by the road-side, 
about half-way between the city and Mr. B's house; 
whilst a few yards off lay the corpse of his master." 

Comment on this weird tale is needless on our part, 
unless it be to remark that it would "point a moral" 
in a far more emphatic manner were the real names 
given of the young man whose fate is supposed to be 


In Duchetiana it is stated by Sir G. B. Duckett, that 
not a vestige remains of those extensive foundations 
which, a hundred years ago, attested the solidity and 
importance of the Westmoreland Ducketts' residence, 
the Manor House known formerly as Grayrigg Hall. 
A strange story is told of the last member of this 
opulent family, who inhabited this line old English 


mansion ere it was dismantled. The narrative has been 
detailed with great similarity in various works, such as 
Ferguson's Early Cumberland and Westmoreland 
Friends, and Backhouse's Life of Hoivgill, and is 
popularly known as " The Quaker's Curse and its Ful- 

Francis Howgill, a noted member of the Society 
of Friends, resided at Todthorne, near Grayrigg, 
in Westmoreland, about the middle of the seven- 
teenth centurv. At one time he travelled about 
the south of England preaching, and when he visited 
Bristol, in company with his compatriot, John Oamm, 
his preaching was made the occasion of great rioting. 
In 1663 he returned to his own neighbourhood, whither 
his reputation had apparently preceded him, for, upon 
arriving at the market-place of Kendal, he was 
summoned to appear before the Justices, who were 
holding a court in a tavern. They tendered Howgill 
the oath of allegiance when he came before them, and 
as he refused to take it they committed him to con- 
finement in Appleby jail. It may be pointed out, as a 
matter of history, that in the earliest days of the 
brotherhood, members of the Society of Friends were 
often subjected to severe penalties and much persecution 
for their refusal to conform to the taking of judicial 
oaths. At Appleby the judges of Assizes also tendered 
Howgill the same oath and, on his refusal to swear it, 
ordered him to be indicted at the next Assizes. Mean- 
while they offered to release him from custody if he 
would give a bond for his good behaviour in the interim, 


but this he refused to do, and therefore was re-com- 
mitted to prison. 

During his imprisonment a curious incident happened. 
Howgill was allowed by the magistrates to go home to 
Grayrigg for a few days on private affairs, and in the 
course of the time he was at liberty the Quaker felt 
himself compelled to # visit a justice of the name of 
Duckett, residing at Grayrigg Hall, who was a great 
persecutor of the Quakers, and was, also, one of the 
magistrates concerned in committing him to prison. 
Francis Howgill, on this occasion, was accompanied by 
a friend who, over the initials " J. D." would appear to 
have left a written report of the interview. Justice 
Duckett expressed much surprise at seeing Howgill, and 
said to him, " What is your wish now, Francis ? I thought 
you had been in Appleby jail." Howgill replied to this 
effect, " No, I am not, but I am come with a message 
from the Lord. Thou hast persecuted the Lord's 
people, but His hand is now against thee, and He will 
send a blast upon all that thou hast, and thy name shall 
rot out of the earth, and this thy dwelling shall become 
desolate, and a habitation for owls and jackdaws." 
When Howgill had delivered this message, the Justice 
trembled, and said, " Francis, are you in earnest ? " To 
which Howgill responded, "Yes, I am in earnest, it is 
the word of the Lord to thee, and there are many now 
living who will see it." 

This prediction by the Quaker appears to have been 
remarkably fulfilled ; for, according to the testimony of 
James Wilson, who was a minister among the Friends, 


and who lived at one time at Grayrigg Foot, in West 4 
moreland, this Justice Duckett had several children, and 
all those children died without leaving any issue, whilst 
some of them came to poverty. James Wilson himself 
had repeatedly given alms at his door to a woman, the 
last of the Duckett family, who hegged her bread from 
door to door. Grayrigg Hall passed into the posses- 
sion of the Lowther family, was dismantled, fell into 
ruins, and in 1777 little more than its extensive founda- 
tions were visible. After having long been the habita- 
tion of " owls and jackdaws," the ruins were entirely 
removed, and a farmhouse erected upon the site of the 
old Hall. And thus the Quaker's curse was fulfilled. 


In April, 1862, one of those stories of haunted houses, 
which are continually " cropping up," both in print and 
in private conversation, went the usual round of the 
press. The London correspondent of Saunders's News 
Letter, having read the comments of his contemporaries, 
told the tale in his own fashion, as below. It should be 

premised that the " Mr. E " of the story is Mr. 

Henry Phillip Eoche, the friend of Lord Weslbury, and, 
thanks to that friendship, was by him appointed one of 
the Eegistrars of the London Court of Bankruptcy. 
" Eeally, what with Mr. Home, Mr. Forster, and Sir 




Bulwer Lytton's Strange Story" says the correspondent, 
"London Society seems just now affected with a general 
phantom mania. The last new phase of the malady is 
a ghost story which has lately obtained extensive 
currency in what are called the ' upper circles/ and which 
claims for its believers two counsel learned in the law, 
and the Lord High Chancellor himself. I don't pretend 
to vouch that the story can pretend to the ' ghost' of a 
foundation for its existence, I merely testify that it is 
being talked of by ' everybody,' and that the first 
question asked at most dinner-tables is, ' Have you 
heard of Lord Westbury's ghost ? ' 

" The story runs thus : Lord Westbury lately pur- 
chased Hackwood House, an old mansion near Basing- 
stoke, the property of Lord Bolton. Snatching a 
spare day or two to obtain a more minute inspection of 
his investment, he took with him two of the gentlemen 
belonging to his official establishment, both members of 
the learned profession. On separating for the night, 

the bedroom destined for one of them, a Mr. R , 

was found to be on the opposite side of the hall to those 
of the other gentlemen ; he therefore shook hands and 
said ' good-night' in the hall, leaving the others talking 
there. He had not been very long asleep before he 
1 felt' himself awoke, but could neither hear nor perceive 
anything. By degrees, however, he became conscious 
of something luminous on the side of the room opposite 
his bed, which gradually assumed the appearance of a 
woman clothed in grey. He at first thought it was an 
optical illusion, next that his companions were playing 


him some phosphoric trick, and then, turning round, he 
composed himself to sleep again. 

' Further on in the night he was awoke again, and 
then at once he saw the same figure brilliantly conspi- 
cuous on the wall. Whilst he was gazing at it, it seemed 
to leave the wall and advance into the middle of the 
apartment. He immediately jumped out of bed, rushed 
to it, and, of course, found nothing. He was so im- 
pressed with the power of the delusion, that he found 
it impossible to seek any more sleep, and, as the day was 
beginning to break, he dressed and made his way into 
the grounds, where he walked for some time, pondering 
over the illusion so forcibly produced upon him. 

" On his return to his room he wrote out an exact 
account of what he thought he had seen, it being then 
quite clear to him that it was no trick played by others, 
but simply an hallucination of his own brain. At the 
breakfast-table, however, he began to fancy that he had 
been cleverly imposed on by his friends, as they com- 
menced at once bantering him on his night's rest, 
broken sleep, and so forth Wishing to detect them 
if possible, he pretended unconsciousness and utter 
ignorance of their meaning, when, to his horror, one of 
them exclaimed, ' Come, come, don't think we didn't see 
one of the women in grey follow you into your room 
last night.' He rushed up-stairs, produced his written 
account, which he gave them to read, and the conster- 
nation became general. On inquiry, of course, they 
found the legend of a murder done in the days of yore, 
and ths Lord Chancellor is supposed to be exceedingly 


vexed at an incident which has decidedly shut up one 
room in his house for ever, if not, in all probability, 
tabooed the mansion altogether. Thus much do the 
' upper ten thousand ' aver how truly is quite another 


In August, 18G4, the Spiritual Magazine, published 
an account stated to have been related to the Stafford- 
shire Sentinel in the previous year, of an apparition 
that had appeared to Mr. William Ridgway, a well- 
known pottery owner, of Hanley, Staffordshire. It is 
a curious circumstance that the manufacturer should 
have concealed the story from all his family and friends, 
and, after so many years of silence, have revealed it 
to an apparent stranger. The editor of the newspaper 
in question does not, and, of course, in the circum- 
stances, cannot produce any corroborative evidence of 
Mr. Ridgway's belief that he had seen the apparition 
of his deceased mother, nor does he state why the 
story was held back until three months after Mr. Ridg- 
way's death. However, it is not our present purpose 
to question the editor's narrative but to cite it. 

" For many years the family of the Ridgways," remarks 
our authority, " have held a high and influential position 
in the commercial world. Their name will go down to 


posterity as promoters of the beautiful art which gives 
wealth and fame to the Staffordshire potteries. William 
was in partnership with his elder brother, John, and was 
esteemed for his manly courage, untiring energy, and 
great probity of character ; no man doubted the word 
of William Ridgway ; it is, therefore, of great value 
in the support of the belief in and reality of appari- 
tions to have the testimony of such a man, and I am 
able to give a well-authenticated story from the columns 
of the Staffordshire Sentinel, where a memoir of this 
much-respected gentleman appeared, about the time of 
his death in April last. The story is thus related: 

" The two brothers became partners with their father 
at the same time, when Mr. William was twenty-one 
years' old, and on equal terms, and their own partner- 
ship continued many years after his death. 

"Immediately after this event they had a dispute 
which of the two should have the paternal mansion. 
Mr. John maintained the right of the elder^ Mr. William 
the claim of an increasing family. The controversy 
threatened to culminate in a quarrel, when, about 
ten o'clock on a light evening, William beheld the 
apparition of his deceased mother, near to the side of 
the entrance of the house. 

" The appearance was perfect as life, and she 
addressed him audibly and distinctly, saying, ' William, 
my dear, let your brother have the house, and God will 
make it right with you.' The next morning he simply 
said to his brother. 'John, you shall have the house.* 
But he never divulged the reason why h3 said this, 

fifiANOR. 113 

etther to his brother, or his wife, or to any human 
being, until he related it to us in the month, of June 

"The superstitious may regard this statement in one 
aspect, and the philosophical in another, but all must 
admit that its truth is simply a question of credibility. 
No one would doubt Mr. Ridgway's word, and few will 
believe that the eyes and ears of the then young man 
were deceived by an illusion. Happily, the friendship 
of the two brothers was uninterrupted, and it continued 
unbroken through life." 


In that remarkable work, Footfalls on the Boundary 
of Another World, Robert Dale Owen publishes an 
interesting account of an apparition, supposed to have 
appeared about the time of the death of tl.e person it 
represented. This account was supplied by Mr. Wil- 
liam Howitt, the well-known author, it having happened 
in his own family ; and in accordance with our usual 
custom of giving as nearly as possible the original 
narrator's own words the only proper course in such 
cases the story referred to above shall be told as Mr. 
Howitt tells it in his letter dated Higbgate, March 28, 



" The circumstance you desire to obtain from me is 
one which I have many times heard related by my 
mother. It was an event familiar to our family and 
the neighbourhood, and is connected with my earliest 
memories ; having occurred about the time of my birth, 
at my father's house at Heanor, Derbyshire, where I 
was born. 

'My mother's family name, Tantum, is an uncommon 
one, which I do not recollect to have met with except 
in a story of Miss Leslie's. My mother had two 
brothers, Francis and Richard. The younger, Richard, 
I knew well, for he lived to an old age. The elder, 
Francis, was, at the time of the occurrence I am about 
to report, a gay young man, about twenty, unmarried, 
handsome, frank, affectionate, and extremely beloved 
by all classes throughout that part of the country. He 
is described, in that age of powder and pig-tails, as 
wearing his auburn hair flowing in ringlets on his 
shoulders, like another Absolom, and was much admired, 
as well for his personal grace as for the life and gaietv 
of his manners. 

" One fine calm afternoon my mother, shortly after a 
confinement, but perfectly convalescent, was lying in 
bed, enjoying from her window the sense of summer 
beauty and repose ; a bright sky above, and the quiet 
village before her. In this state she was gladdened by 
hearing footsteps, which she took to be those of her 
brother Frank, as he was familiarly called, approaching 
the chamber door. The visitor knocked and entered. 
The foot of the bed was towards the door, and the 

HEANOR. 115 

curtains at the foot, notwithstanding the season, were 
drawn, to prevent any draught. Her brother parted 
them, and looked in upon her. His gaze was earnest 
and destitute of its usual cheerfulness, and he spoke 
not a word. ' My dear Frank,' said my mother, ' how 
glad I am to see you! Come round to the bedside, I 
wish to have some talk with you.' 

" He closed the curtains, as if complying ; but instead 
of doing so, my mother, to her astonishment, heard him 
leave the room, close the door behind him, and begin 
to descend the stairs. Greatlv amazed, she hastilv 
rang, and when her maid appeared she bade her call her 
brother back. The girl replied that she had not seen 
him enter the house. But my mother insisted, saying, 
* He was here but this instant, run ! Quick ! Call him 
back ! I must see him ! ' 

" The girl hurried away, but, after a time, returned, 
saying that she could learn nothing of him anywhere ; 
nor had anyone in or about the house seen him either 
enter or depart. 

*' f Now, my father's house stood at the bottom of the 
village, and close to the high road, which was quite 
straight ; so that anyone passing along it must have 
been seen for a much longer period than had elapsed. 
The girl said she had looked up and down the road, 
then searched the garden, a large, old-fashioned one, 
with shady walks; but neither in the garden nor on 
the road was he to be seen. She had inquired at the 
nearest cottages in the village, but no one had noticed 
him pass. 

8 * 


" My mother, though a very pious woman, was far 
from superstitious; yet the strangeness of this cir- 
cumstance struck her forcibly. While she lay ponder- 
ing upon it, there was heard a sudden running and 
excited talking in the village street. My mother 
listened, it increased, though up to that time the village 
had been profoundly still ; and she became convinced 
that something very unusual had occurred. Again she 
rang the bell, to inquire the cause of the disturbance. 
This time it was the monthly nurse who answered it. 
She sought to tranquillize my mother, as a nurse usually 
does a patient. ' Oh, it is nothing particular, ma'am,' 
she said, ' some trifling affair,' which she pretended to 
relate, passing lightly over the particulars. But her 
ill-suppressed agitation did not escape my mother's eye. 
' Tell me the truth,' she said, ' at once. I am certain 
something very sad has happened.' The woman still 
equivocated, greatly fearing the effect upon my mother 
in her then situation; and at first the family joined in 
the attempt at concealment. Finally, however, my 
mother's alarm and earnest entreaties drew from them 
the terrible truth that her brother had just been 
stabbed at the top of the village and killed on the 

" The melancholy event had thus occurred. My 
uncle, Francis Tantum, had been dining at Shipley Hall 
with Mr. Edward Miller Mundy, Member of Parliament 
for the county. Shipley Hall lay off to the left of the 
village as you looked up the main street from my 
father's house, and about a mile distant from it ; while 

HEANOR. 117 

Heanor Fall, my uncle's residence, was situated to the 
right; the road from the one country seat to the other 
crossing nearly at right angles the upper portion of the 
village street, at a point where stood one of the two 
village inns, the ' Admiral Rodney,' respectably kept by 
the widow H ks. I remember her well a tall, fine- 
looking woman, who must have been handsome in her 
youth, and who retained, even past middle age, an air 
superior to her condition. She had one only child, a 
son, then scarcely twenty. He was a good-looking, 
brisk, young fellow, and bore a very fair character. 
He must, however, as the event showed, have been of a 
very hasty temper. 

"Francis Tantum, riding home from Shipley Hall 
after the early country dinner of that day, somewhat 
elated, it may be, with wine, stopped at the widow's inn, 
and bade the son bring him a glass of ale. As the 
latter turned to obey, my uncle, giving the youth a 
smart switch across the back with his riding-whip, cried 
out, in his lively joking way, ' Now, be quick, Dick ; be 
quick ! ' 

" The young man, instead of receiving the playful 
stroke as a jest, took it as an insult. He rushed into 
the house, snatched up a carving-knife, and darting 
back into the street, stabbed my uncle to the heart as 
he sat on his horse, so that he fell dead, on the instant, 
in the road. 

" The sensation tnrougnoui tne quiet village may be 
imagined. The inhabitants, who idolised the murdered 
man, were prevented from taking summary vengeance 


on the homicide only by the constables carrying him 
off to the office of the nearest magistrate. 

"Young H ks was tried at the next Derby 

Assizes ; but (justly, no doubt, taking into view the 
sudden irritation caused by the blow) he was convicted 
of manslaughter only ; and, after a few months im- 
prisonment, returned to the village ; where, notwith- 
standing the strong popular feeling against him, he 
continued to keep the inn, even after his mother's 
death. He is still present to my recollection, a quiet, 
retiring man, never guilty of any other irregularity of 
conduct, and seeming to bear about with him the 
constant memory of his rash deed a silent blight 
upon his life. 

" So great was the respect entertained for my uncle, 
and such the deep impression of his tragic end, that so 
long as that generation lived the church bells of the 
village were regularly tolled on the anniversary of his 

" On comparing the circumstances and the exact 
time at which each occurred, the fact was substantiated 
that the apparition presented itself to my mother almost 
instantly after her brother had received tho fdial 



The Rev. Dr. Bretton, towards the close of his career 
appointed rector of Ludga f .e, early in life held a living 
in Hereford. He had married a daughter of Dr. Santer, 
a lady well known for her piety and virtue, but who died 
and left an infant to her husband's care. The child 
was entrusted to the charge of an old servant of Mrs. 
Bretton, who had since married, and who nursed it 
in her own cottage, near the doctor's residence. The 
story, which has often been related in various collections 
and in different ways, according to the original account, 
states that one day when the woman was nursing the 
infant, the door of her cottage was opened, and a lady 
entered so exactly resembling the late Mrs. Bretton in 
dress and appearance, that she exclaimed, " If my 
mistress were not dead, I should think you were she ! " 
Whereupon, the apparition told her she was so, and 
requested her to go with her, as she had business of 
importance to communicate. Alice objected, being very 
much frightened, and entreated her to address herself 
rather to Dr. Bretton ; but Mrs. B. answered, that she 
had, endeavoured to do so, and had, been several times in 
his room for that purpose, but he was still asleep, and 
she had no power to do more towards awaketiing him 
than once uncover his feet, Alice then pleaded that 
she had nobody to leave with her child ; but Mrs. B. 
promising that the child should sleep till her return, 


she at length obeyed the summons, and having accom- 
panied the apparition into a large field, the latter bade 
her observe how much she measured off with her feet, 
and having taken a considerable compass, she made her 
go and tell her brother that all that portion had been 
wrongfully taken from the poor by their father, and 
that he must restore it to them, adding, that she was 
the more concerned about it, since her name had been 
used in the transaction. Alice then asking how she 
should satisfy the gentleman of the truth of her mission, 
Mrs. B. mentioned to her some circumstances known 
only to herself and this brother ; she then entered into 
much discourse with the woman, and gave her a great 
deal of good advice, till, hearing the sound of horse-bells, 
she said, " Alice, I must be seen by none but yourself/' 
and then disappeared. 

When the apparition had gone away the servant pro- 
ceeded to the residence of her master, and acquainted 
him with what had occurred. Dr. Bretton admitted 
that he had actually heard someone walking about 
in his room in a way that he could not account for, 
as no one was visible. He then mentioned the matter 
to his brother, who laughed heartily at it, until Alice 
communicated to him the secret which she was com- 
missioned to reveal to him : upon hearing it he changed 
his tone, and declared himself ready to make the resti- 
tution required. Dr. Bretton, it may be remarked, 
never made any secret of the affair, but discussed it 
freely with many persons. 




An account of a haunted neighbourhood, as described 
in 3. Sullivan's Cumberland and Westmoreland, illus- 
trates either the long term of years apparitions are 
doomed to haunt the scenes of their former life, or the 
tenacity of tradition. Sullivan, referring to other pre- 
vious cases of supernatural troubles it had been his lot 
to record, remarks, that if some incredulous individuals 
may consider the evidence already proffered unsatis- 
factory, they should investigate that of the Henhow 
spectre, " the truth of which they may ascertain by a 
little inquiry." This particular case, he remarks, 
happened about twenty-three years ago, and the man to 
whom the spectre appeared lived in Martindale, at a 
cottage called "Henhow." His wife had heard some 
unaccountable noises in or around the house, and in- 
formed her husband, but no further notice was taken. 
One morning he had to go to his work at an early hour 
and, having several miles to walk, he started soon after 
midnight. He had not got above two hundred yards: 
from the house, when the dog by which he was accom- 
panied gave signs of alarm. He looked round at the 
other side of the wall that bounded the road, appeared 
a woman, keeping pace with him, and carrying a child in 
her arms. There was no means of escape; he spoke to the 
figure, and asked her what "was troubling her." Then 
ghe told him her story. She had once lived at Henhow, 


and had been seduced. Her seducer, to cloak his guilt 
and her frailty, met her by appointment at a certain 
market town, and gave her a medicine, the purpose of 
which is obvious. It proved too potent, and killed both 
mother and child. Her doom was to wander thus for a 
hundred years, forty of which were already expired. 
On his return home at night, the man told what he had 
seen and heard, and when the extraordinary story spread 
through the dale, the " old wives " were enabled to 
recall some almost forgotten incidents precisely identical 
with those related by the apparition. The seducer was 
known to be a clergyman. <c The occurrence is believed 
to have made a lasting impression on the old man," 
says Sullivan, "who still lives, and was until very lately 
a shepherd on the fells. There can be no moral doubt 
that he both saw and spoke with the apparition ; but 
what share his imagination had therein, or how it had 
baen excited, are mysteries, and so they are likely to 


Formerly the homes of nearly every Scottish, and of 
many English, families of importance were haunted by 
domestic spirits known as " Brownies." Hilton Castle, 
once one of the most magnificent dwellings in the north 
of England, but now hastening to decay, among other 
weird inhabitants was a long while, perchance still is, 





frequented by a Brownie, popularly known as the '* Cauld 
Lad of Hilton." As a rule, these domestic spectres 
appear to have taken up their abode in any suitable 
dwelling, without the usual precedent of a crime, as is 
the case with a ghost or apparition of the ordinary type, 
and to have generally employed themselves for the 
benefit of the household. The antiquary Surtees, in 
his History of Durham, assumes the being that haunted 
Hilton Castle to have been one of these somewhat 
commonplace spirits, and although there are other more 
eerie stories of the Cold Lad, it will be as well to give 
the historian's account first. 

The Cauld Lad, he says, was seldom seen, but was 
heard nightly by the servants, who slept in the great 
hall. If the kitchen were left in perfect order, they 
heard him amusing himself by breaking plates and 
dishes, hurling the pewter in all directions, and throw- 
ing everything into confusion. If, on the contrary, the 
apartment had been left in disarray, a practice which 
the servants found it most prudent to adopt, the inde- 
fatigable goblin arranged everything with the greatest 
precision. This poor spirit, whose pranks were never 
of a dangerous or hurtful character, was at length 
banished from his haunts by the usual and universally 
known expedient of presenting him with a suit of 
clothes. A green cloak and hood were laid before the 
kitchen fire, and the domestics sat up watching at a 
prudent distance. At twelve o'clock the sprite glided 
gently in, stood by the glowing embers, and surveyed the 
garments provided for him very attentively, tried them 


on, and seemed delighted with his appearance in them, 
frisking about for some time and cutting several somer- 
saults, till, on hearing the first cock-crow, he twitched 
his mantle about him and disappeared with the male- 
diction usually adopted on such occasions : 

" Here 's a cloak, and here 's a hood, 
The Cauld Lad o' Hilton will do no more good." 

Although this spirit was thus summarily disposed of 
by the historian, the inhabitants of Hilton and its 
viciniiy for many generations continued to believe in 
its frequent reappearance, and over the glowing embers 
told wonderful tales of its deeds. So strange were its 
doings at times, and so frequent its apparition, that it 
was difficult to retain the domestics in the castle. Among 
other stories told of the terror with which it contrived 
to imbue the minds of the servants, is one of a dairy- 
maid who was too fond of helping herself to the richest 
cream the pantry afforded. One day, as this not over 
scrupulous young woman was taking her usual sips from 
the various pans, the Cauld Lad suddenly addressed her 
from some invisible vantage-ground, " Ye taste, and ye 
taste, and ye taste, but ye never gie the Cauld Lad a 
taste ! " On hearing this appalling accusation, the 
affrighted maid dropped the spoon on the ground, 
rushed out of the place, and could never be induced to 
enter it again. 

The local tradition of the " Cold Lad," more closely 
assimilates his nature to that of any ordinary ghost or 
apparition, and in no way to the Brownie of our fore- 
fathers. The popular idea is that a lad, a domestic of 


the house, was cruelly ill-treated and kept confined in a 
cupboard, and the cupboard is, or was quite recently, 
pointed out by the guide who shows visitors over the 
house, as " the place where they used to put the Cold 
Lad.*' He is supposed to have received the suggestively 
awesome name of the " Cold Lad," from hi3 stiff and 
stark form having been discovered in the cupboard. 

Surtees endeavours to explain the origin of this 
ancient legend by reference to a murder of Roger 
Skelton, apparently a servant, by his master, Robert 
Hilton, of Hilton, on the 3rd July 1609. Hilton was 
found guilty of having killed Skelton, but received a 
pardon some few months after his conviction. According 
to the old tale, the lord of Hilton one day, in a fit of 
wrath or intemperance, enraged at the delay in bringing 
his horse after he had ordered it, rushed to the stable, 
and finding the boy, whose duty it was to have brought 
the horse, loitering about, he seized a hay-fork, and 
struck him with it. Intentionally or not, he had given 
the lad a mortal blow. The tale proceeds to tell how 
the murderer covered his victim with straw until night- 
time, when he took the body and flung it into the pond, 
where, indeed, the skeleton was discovered in the last 
Lord of Hilton's time. 

With such ghastly and such ghostly traditions con- 
nected with it, it is no wonder that Hilton Castle is a 
haunted placo. 



The History of Holland House by the .Princess 
Marie Lichtenstein, the adopted daughter of the present 
Lady Holland, is a -well-known popular account of one 
of the most interesting London residences extant. The 
many highly-gifted men and beautiful women, who 
have frequented Holland House for several generations 
past, have endowed it with memories of a most attractive 
nature ; but the Princess Marie's work tells us that 
reminiscences of a far less pleasing character hover 
about the old house, and, indeed, that, like most respect- 
able dwellings of any antiquity, Holland House is 
haunted, At least two ghostly legends, according to 
the fair authoress, are connected with it. 

An ancient manor-house, belonging to Sir William 
Cope, it is believed, formerly stood where Holland 
House now stands, and, so it would seem, was incor- 
porated in the present mansion. Sir William Cope's 
daughter and heiress, Isabel, was married to Sir Henry 
Eich, created Baron Kensington in 1622, and sent 
to Spain by James the First, to assist in negociating 
a marriage between Prince Charles and the Infanta. 
In 1624 he was created Earl of Holland, and it was this 
same nobleman, as the Princess tells us, '* who added 
to the building its wings and arcades, and more than 
this, he employed the best artists of the time in 
decorating the interior." 


Clarendon describes the Earl as " a very handsome 
man. of a lovely and winning presence, and gentle 
conversation." He played, says the historian, a con- 
spicuous part during the reign of Charles the First 
and the commencement of the struggle with the 
Parliament. After having stood in high favour with 
Queen Henrietta, he fell under suspicion of disloyalty, 
which was confirmed by his lending Holland House for 
a meeting between Fairfax and certain discontented 
members of Parliament. The year following, having 
rejoined the Koyalists. he was taken in arms at St Neot's, 
and, having been imprisoned in Warwick Castle, he 
was condemned to death, and beheaded in March 1648-9 
in Palace Yard. Warburton, in a note to Clarendon's 
History, says : " He lived like a knave, and died like 
a fool. He appeared on the scaffold dressed in a white 
satin waistcoat, and a white satin cap with silver lace c 
After some divine conference with a clergyman and an 
affectionate leave-taking with a friend, he turned to the 
executioner and said, ' Here, my friend, let my clothes 
and my body alone ; there is ten pounds for thee 
that is better than my clothes, I am sure of it. And 
when you take up my head, do not take off my cap.' " 
He appears, however, even by Warburton's account, 
to have died with much firmness, and his head was 
severed by one blow from his body. 

This Lord Holland, the first of his name, and the 
chief builder of Holland House, is, the Princess Lichten- 
stein tells us, believed to yet haunt one room of the 
splendid old mansion. " The gilt room is said to be 


tenanted Dy the solitary ghost of its first lord, who, 
according to tradition, issues forth at midnight from 
behind a secret door, and walks slowly through the 
scenes of former triumphs with his head in his hand. 
To add to this mystery, there is a tale of three spots of 
blood on one side of the recess whence he issues three 
spots which can never be effaced." 

In the grounds of Holland House is " the Green 
Lane," formerly called " Nightingale Lane," as long 
as nightingales frequented it. " It is," says the Princess, 
" a long avenue, like an immense gallery arched with 
trees and carpeted with grass, the distant light at the 
end softening down into that misty blue so peculiar 
to dear England." This avenue is the scene of a 
" spiritual experience," chronicled by Aubrey in his 
Miscellanies, and which is as follows : 

" The beautiful Lady Diana Rich, daughter to the 
Earl of Holland, as she was walking in her father's 
garden at Kensington, to take the air before dinner, 
about eleven o'clock, being then very well, met her own 
apparition, habit and everything, as in a looking-glass. 
About a month after she died of small-pox. And 'tis 
said that her sister, the Lady Isabella Thinne, saw the 
like of herself also before she died. This account I 
had from a person of honour." 

"A third sister, Mary, was married to the Earl of 
Breadalbane," we are informed, and it has been 
recorded that she also, not long after her marriage, 
had some such warning of her approaching dissolution. 

And so the old tradition has remained, and who would 





wish, it removed ? Belonging to past times, it should" 
be respected. But whether we respect tradition or not, 
it is a received fact that, whenever the mistress of 
Holland House meets herself, Death is hovering about 


At Lambton Castle, in Durham, there is shown the 
figure of a man in armour, cut in stone, having some- 
thing like razors set in his back-plate. He is repre- 
sented in the act of thrusting his sword down the throat 
of a dragon or serpent. The tradition which is typified 
by this ancient figure, and which for centuries has 
been identified with the Lambton family, now repre- 
sented by the Earl of Durham, is one of the most 
singular and notorious in England. Burke, in his 
Vicissitudes of Families, gives the tale at some length, 
but derives it chiefly from Surtees, the historian and 
antiquary, and from him, with some few additional 
particulars from other local authorities, we purpose 
giving it in a somewhat abridged form. 

According to the old legend the Lambtons " were so 
brave that they feared neither man nor God," and, appa- 
rently, had no respect for the Sabbath. One Sunday, 
therefore, the reckless heir of the race, according to his 
profane custom, went to fish in the river Wear, and, 
after trving his piscatorial skiU for a long time without 



success, vented his disappointment in curses loud and 
deep, much to the distress of passers hy on their road to 
church. At length his luck appeared as if about to 
change, for he felt something struggling at the end of 
his line. Pulling it carefully to land, in expectation of 
capturing a great fish, he was wofully disappointed and 
enraged to find it was a worm or snake, of repulsive 
appearance. He cleared it from his hook, and flung it 
into an adjacent well, remarking to a passer-by that he 
thought he had caught the devil, and requesting his 
opinion on the strange animal. The stranger, after 
looking into the well, remarked that he had never seen 
anything like it before, that it was like an eft, but that 
it had nine holes on each side of its mouth, and opined 
that it betokened no good. 

After a while, the heir of the Lambtons repented of 
his evil courses, and proceeded to a distant land, in 
order to wage war against the infidels. During the 
seven long years that he was absent from home, a most 
distressing and unexpected state of affairs had come to 
pass. The worm or serpent, which he had flung into 
the well on that desecrated Sabbath, had grown so large 
that it had to seek another and more capacious place of 
residence. The locality which it selected as its favourite 
abode was a small hill near the village of Fatfield, on 
the north side of the river Wear, about a mile and a half 
below Lambton Castle; and at last, so great was its 
length, and so great was its strength, that it could, and 
would, wind itself round this hill, which is upwards of 
throe hundred yards in circumference, in a triple cord, 


in such a manner that traces of its folds have remained 
almost to within memory of the last generation. It 
became a terror to the whole country, committing all 
kinds of devastation on the flocks and herds, arid poison- 
ing the pasture with its reeking breath. In vain did the 
knights and gentlemen thereabouts endeavour to slay this 
monster, it was a match for the best of them, always 
leaving them minus life or limb ; for although many of 
them had succeeded in cutting it asunder, the severed 
parts had reunited immediately, and the worm remained 
whole as before the conflict. 

Finally, the heir of Lambton returned from the wars; 
he was naturally distressed to learn of the desolation of 
his ancestral lands, and still more so when he discovered 
that the cause of all the misery was really due to the 
monster he had drawn to land on the long bygone 
desecrated Sabbath. He determined, at all risks, to 
endeavour to destroy the monster ; but as all previous 
adventurers had failed, he deemed it best, before under- 
taking the conflict, to consult a witch or wise woman as 
to the best method of proceeding. Accordingly, he applied 
to a witch, and, after having been reproached as the cause 
of all the misery brought upon the country, she advised 
him how to act. He was directed to provide himself 
with a coat of armour covered with razors, and, by means 
of that and his trusty sword, promised success, that 
is to say, conditionally upon his making a solemn vow 
to kill the first living thing which he should meet after 
slaying the worm. Lambton agreed to the conditions ; 
but was informed that if he failed to keep his word, the 

9 * 


" Lords of Lambton for nine generations should not die 
in their beds," no very great hardship, it might be 
deemed, for that martial age. 

According to his instructions, the knight had a 
suit of armour covered with razors made, and having 
donned this, he instructed his aged father that when 
he had destroyed the worm, he would blow three blasts 
upon his horn as a signal of his victory, whereupon his 
favourite greyhound was to be let loose, so that it might 
run to him, and therefore be the first thing that would 
meet him, and thus be slain in fulfilment of his agree- 
ment with the witch. The father promised and gave 
his blessing, and young Lambton, having made the vow 
enjoined, started on his dangerous expedition. As soon 
as he approached the hill round which the worm was 
coiled, it unwound itself and came down to the river- 
side to attack him. Nothing daunted by its hideous 
aspect, the knight struck at it with might and main, 
yet without appearing to make any impression upon it 
beyond increasing its rage. It now seized its opponent 
in its horrid folds and sought to strangle him; but the 
more tightly it grasped him, the more frightfully was it 
wounded, the razor blades cutting it through and 
through. But as often as the monster fell to the ground 
cut by the knight's terrible coat of mail, as often, says the 
legend, did the severed pieces re-unite, and the wounds 
heal up. Lambton, seeing that the worm was not to be 
destroyed in this way, stept into the river Wear, whither 
the monster followed him. The change of position 
proved fatal to the worm, for as fast as the pieces were 


cut off by the razors they were carried away by the 
stream, and the monster, being unable to re-unite itself 
was, after the desperate conflict, at last utterly de- 

As soon as Lamb ton had achieved the victory, he 
blew three blasts upon his horn ; but his father, in the 
excitement of the moment, forgot to have the greyhound 
unloosened, and in his impatience ran out of the castle 
to greet his son, and was the first living being that met 
his gaze. The knight embraced his father, and again 
blew his horn, upon which the hound was let loose, and, 
running towards Lambton, was slain. But this was too 
late to retrieve matters, his vow having enjoined the 
slaying of the first living creature that he should meet 
with, and his father had been the first to meet him. So 
the curse was on the house of Lambton, and for nine 
generations not one of its lords could die in his bed. 

Sir Bernard Burke points out that popular tradition 
traces the curse back to Robert Lambton, who died 
without issue in 1442, leaving the estates to his brother 
Thomas, but bequeathing by his will to his " brother, 
John Lambton, knight of Rhodes, 100 marks." In an 
ancient pedigree this John Lambton, knight of Rhodes, 
is described as he " that slew the worm," and as " Lord 
of Lambton after the death of four brothers without 
male issue." His son Robert is said to have been 
drowned at Newbrig, near the chapel where the knight 
had registered his rash and unperformed vow, and 
tradition specifies a bedless death for each successive 
nine generations of the Lords of Lambton. After 


adverting to the various ways and places in which 
different heirs of Lamb ton met with death, our chief 
authority for this portion of the legend concludes : 

Great curiosity prevailed in the life-time of Henry to 
know if the curse would " hold good to the end." He 
died in his chariot, crossing the new bridge, in 1761, 
thus giving the last connecting link to the chain of 
circumstantial evidence connected with the history 
of the worm of Lambton. His succeeding brother, 
General Lambton, who lived to a great age, fearing that 
the prophecy might be possibly fulfilled by his servants, 
under the idea that he could not die in his bed, kept a 
horsewhip beside him in his last illness, and thus eluded 
the prediction. Although the spell put on this ancient 
family by the witch is said to have been broken by the 
death of Henry Lambton in 1761, yet neither of the 
two last lords have died at home, and this, to the knights 
of ancient times, says Burke, " would have been sorer 
punishment than dying in the battle-field, for they 
loved to sleep in their own country and with their 


Littlecot House, or Hall as it is sometimes called, \ 
the ancient seat of the Darrells, is two miles from 
Hungerford in Berkshire. It stands in a low and lonely 
situation, and is thoroughly typical in appearance of a 


haunted dwelling. On three sides it is surrounded by a 
park, which spreads over the adjacent hill, and on 
the fourth by meadows, through which runs the river 
Kennet. A thick grove of lofty trees stands on one side 
of the gloomy building, which is of great antiquity, and 
would appear to have been erected towards the close of 
the age of feudal warfare, when defence came to be no 
longer the principal object in a country mansion. The 
interior of the house, however, presents many objects 
appropriate to feudal times. The hall is very spacious, 
paved by stones, and lighted by large transon windows. 
The walls are hung with coats-of-mail and helmets, and 
on every side are quantities of old-fashioned pistols and 
guns, and other suitable ornaments for an old baronial 
dwelling. Below the cornice at the end of the hall, 
hangs a row of leathern jerkins, made in the form of 
shirts, and supposed to have been worn as armour by the 
retainers of the Darrell family, to whom the old Hall 
belonged. An enormous oaken table, reaching nearly 
from one end of the chamber to the other, might have 
feasted the entire neighbourhood, and an appendage to 
one end of it made it answer at other times for the old 
game of shuffleboard. The rest of the furniture is in a 
corresponding style, or was a few years ago ; but the 
most noticeable article is an old chair of cumbrous 
workmanship, constructed of wood, curiously carved, 
with a high back and triangular seat ; it is said to have 
been used by Judge Popham, in the days of Elizabeth. 

The entrance into the hall of this ancient mansion is 
at one end by a low door, communicating with a passage 


that leads from the outer door in the front of the house 
to a quadrangle within ; at the other it opens upon a 
gloomy stair-case, by which you ascend to the first floor, 
and, passing the doors of some bed-chambers, enter a 
narrow gallery which extends along the back front of the 
house from one end to the other of it. This gallery is 
hung with old family portraits, chiefly in Spanish cos- 
tumes of the sixteenth century. In one of the bed- 
chambers, which you pass in going towards the gallery, 
is a bedstead with blue furniture, that time has now 
made dingy and threadbare ; and in the bottom of one 
of the bed-curtains you are shown a place where a small 
piece has been cut out and sewn in again. To account 
for this curious circumstance, and for the apparitions 
which tenant this haunted chamber, the following terrible 
tale is told : 

" It was on a dark rainy night in the month of 
November, that an old midwife sat musing by her cottage 
fireside, when on a sudden she was startled by a loud 
knocking at the door. On opening it she found a 
horseman, who told her that her assistance was required 
immediately by a person of rank, and that she should be 
handsomely rewarded, but that there were reasons for 
keeping the affair a strict secret, and therefore she 
must submit to be blind-folded, and to be conducted in 
that condition to the bed-chamber of the lady. With 
some hesitation the midwife consented; the horseman 
bound her eyes, and placed her on a pillion behind him. 
After proceeding in silence for many miles, through 
rough and dirty lanes, they stopped^ and the midwife 


was led into a house which, from the length of her walk 
through the apartments, as well as the sounds about her, 
she discovered to be the seat of wealth and power. 

" When the bandage was removed from her eyes, she 
found herself in a bed-chamber, in whicli were the lady 
on whose account she had been sent for, and a man of a 
haughty and ferocious aspect. The lady was delivered 
of a fine boy. Immediately the man commanded the 
midwife to give him the child, and, catching it from her, 
he hurried across the room, and threw it on the back 
of the fire that was blazing in the chimney. The child, 
however, was strong, and by its struggles rolled itself 
off upon the hearth, when the ruffian again seized it 
with fury, and, in spite of the intercession of the mid- 
wife, and the more piteous entreaties of the mother, 
thrust it under the grate, and, raking the live coals 
upon it, soon put an end to its life. 

" The midwife, after spending some time in affording 
all the relief in her power to the wretched mother, was 
told that she must be gone. Her former conductor 
appeared, who again bound her eyes, and conveyed her 
behind him to her own home; he then paid her hand- 
somely and departed. The midwife was strongly agitated 
by the horrors of the preceding night, and she imme- 
diately made a deposition of the facts before a magistrate. 
Two circumstances afforded hopes of detecting the house 
in which the crime had been committed ; one was, that 
the midwife, as she sat by the bed-side, had, with a view 
to discover the place, cut out a piece of the hed-curtain, 
and sewn it in again ; the other was, that as she had 


descended the staircase she had counted the steps. 
Some suspicion fell upon one Darrell, at that time the 
proprietor of Littlecot House and the domain around it. 
The house was examined, and identified by the midwife, 
and Darrell was tried at Salisbury for the murder. By 
corrupting his judge, he escaped the sentence of the law, 
but broke his neck by a fall from his horse in hunting, 
a few months afterwards. The place where this hap- 
pened is still known by the name of DarreU's Stile, a 
spot to be dreaded by the peasant whom the shades of 
evening have overtaken on his way." 

This is the fearsome legend connected with Littlecot 
House, the circumstances related are declared to be true, 
and to have happened in the reign of Elizabeth. With 
such a tale attached to its guilty wails, no wonder that 
the apparition of a woman with dishevelled hair, in 
white garments, and bearing a babe in her arms, haunts 
that gloomy chamber. 


In the well-known diary of Thomas Raikes, and under 
date of December 26, 1832, is recounted a very singular 
account of an apparition which appeared to a young 
lady at the Argyle Kooms, a highly-fashionable estab- 
lishment in those days, and, need it be stated, then noted 
for a class of entertainment very different from that it 
afterwards became known for. Mr. Raikes, who had 


the anecdote from a member of the lady's family chiefly 
concerned, tells the story in these words : 

"It is now about fifteen months ago that Miss 

M , a connection of my family, went with a party of 

friends to a concert at the Argyle Rooms. She appeared 
there to be suddenly seized with indisposition, and, 
though she persisted for some time to struggle against 
what seemed a violent nervous affection, it became at 
last so oppressive that they were obliged to send for 
their carriage and conduct her home. She was for a 
long time unwilling to say what was the cause of her 
indisposition ; but, on being more earnestly questioned, 
she at length confessed that she had, immediately on 
arriving in the concert-room, been terrified by a horrible 
vision, which unceasingly presented itself to her sight. 
It seemed to her as though a naked corpse was lying on 
the floor at her feet ; the features of the face were 
partly covered by a cloth mantle, but enough was 
apparent to convince her that the body was that of Sir 

J Y . Every effort was made by her friends at 

the time to tranquillize her mind by representing the 
folly of allowing such delusions to prey upon her spirits, 
and she thus retired to bed ; but on the following day 

the family received the tidings of Sir J Y having 

been drowned in Southampton river that very night by 
the oversetting of his boat ; and the body was afterwards 
found entangled in a boat-cloak. Here," remarks 
Raikes, " is an authenticated case of second sight, and 
of very recent date." 



One of those stories of apparitions which are so 
frequently alluded to, but of which the facts are appa- 
rently, chiefly or entirely unknown to most authors 
of supernatural works, is that related by the Rev. Dr. 
Scott, an eminent divine in his days. The narrative 
of this most marvellous affair originally appeared in 
The History and Reality of Apparitions, from which 
curious little work we shall transcribe it. The editor 
of that book, which was published in 1770, and who 
was, apparently, de Foe, asserts that this story had never 
appeared in print before, and adds of the Rev. Dr. Scott, 
that he was not only a man whose learning and piety 
were eminent, but one whose judgment was known 
to be good, and who could not be easily imposed 

According to the story, Dr. Scott was sitting alone 
by his fireside in the library of his house in Broad 
Street ; he had shut himself in the room to study and, 
so it is alleged, had locked the door. In the midst of 
his reading happening to look up, he was much astounded 
to see, sitting in an elbow-chair on the other side of the 
fire-place, a grave, elderly gentleman, in a black velvet 
gown and a long wig, looking at him with a pleased 
countenance, and as if about to speak. Knowing that 
he had locked the door, Dr. Scott was quite confounded 
at seeing this uninvited visitor sitting in the elbow- 


chair, and from the first appears to have suspected its 
supernatural character. Indeed, so disturbed was he at 
the sight of the apparition, for such it was, that he was 
unable to speak, as he himself acknowledged in telling 
the story. The spectre, however, began the discourse 
by telling the doctor not to be frightened, for it would 
do him no harm, but came to see him upon a matter 
of great importance to an injured family, which was 
in danger of being ruined. Although the doctor was 
a stranger to this family, the apparition stated that 
knowing him to be a man of integrity it had selected 
him to perform an act of great charity as well as justice. 

At first Dr. Scott was not sufficiently composed to 
pay proper attention to what the apparition propounded; 
but was rather more inclined to escape from the room 
if he could, and made one or two futile attempts to 
knock for some of his household to come up ; at which 
his visitor appeared to be somewhat displeased. But, 
as the doctor afterwards stated, he had no power to go 
out of the room, even if he had been next the door, 
nor to knock for help, even if any had been close at 

Then the apparition, seeing the doctor still so confused, 
again desired him to compose himself, assuring him that 
he would not do him the slightest injury, nor do anything 
to cause him the least uneasiness, but desired that he 
would permit him to deliver the business he came about, 
which, when he had heard, he said, he would probably 
see less cause to be surprised or apprehensive than ho 
did now. 


By this time "Dr. Scott had somewhat recovered him- 
self, and encouraged by the calm manner in which the 
apparition addressed him, contrived to falter out : 

" In the name of God, what art thou ? " 

" I desire you will not be frightened," responded the 
apparition. " I am a stranger to you, and if I tell you 
my name you will not know it. But you may do the 
business without inquiring farther." The doctor could 
not compose himself, but still remained very uneasy, 
and for some time said nothing. Again the apparition 
attempted to reassure him, but could only elicit from 
him a repetition of the ejaculation, " In the name of 
God, what art thou ? " 

Upon this, says the narration, the spectre appeared 
to be displeased, and expostulated with Dr. Scott, 
telling him that it could have terrified him into com- 
pliance, but that it chose to come quietly and calmly to 
him ; and, indeed, made use of such civil and natural 
discourse that the doctor began to grow a little more 
familiar, and at last ventured to ask what it wanted 
of him. Upon this the apparition appeared to be very 
gratified, and began its story. It related that it had 
once owned a very good estate, which at that time 
was enjoyed by its grandson ; two nephews, however, 
the sons of its younger brother, were then suing for 
possession of the property and, owing to certain family 
reasons which the doctor could not or would not specify, 
were likely to oust the young man from his property. 
A deed of settlement, being the conveyance of the 
inheritance, could not be found and without it the 


owner of the estate had every reason to fear he would 
be ejected. 

" Well," said Dr. Scott, "what can I do in the case?" 

" Go to my grandson," said the apparition, "and direct 
him where to find the missing deed, which is concealed 
in a place where I put it myself/' And then it gave the 
doctor minute particulars of the chest wherein the needed 
document was hidden stowed away in an old lumber- 
room. When the apparition had impressed the matter 
thoroughly upon the doctor's mind, Dr. Scott not 
unnaturally asked his visitor why it could not direct 
the grandson himself to recover the missing deed. 
" Ask me not about that," said the apparition ; " there 
are divers reasons, which you may know hereafter. 
I can depend upon your honesty in it in the mean- 

Still Dr. Scott did not like to take upon himself the 
strange mission, whereupon the apparition seemed to 
grow angry, and even begin to threaten him, so that 
he was at last compelled to promise compliance. The 
apparition then assumed a pleasant aspect, thanked him, 
and disappeared. 

The strangest part of this strange story yet remains 
to be told. At the earliest opportunity Dr. Scott posted 
away to the address given him by the apparition, or 
dream as some persons deemed it. He asked for and 
w r as at once introduced to the gentleman the apparition 
had sent him to, and to his surprise was received most, 
cordially by him. Dr. Scott's surprise was, indeed, 
quickened when the stranger entered most unreservedly 


into the particulars of his law-suit, telling him that he 
had had a dream the previous night, in which he had 
dreamed that a strange gentleman came to him, and 
assisted him to find the deed which was needed to 
confirm him in the possession of his estate. 

This assured Dr. Scott that it was not a dream which 
he had had, and that he was really selected to discover 
the missing document. Making himself agreeable to his 
host, he eventually got him to take him all over his 
splendid old mansion. Finally, he beheld just such 
a lumber-room as the apparition had told him of, 
and on entering it, saw an exact facsimile of the chest 
described to him by his supernatural visitant. There 
was an old rusty key in it that would neither turn 
round, nor come out of the lock, which was exactly 
what the apparition had forewarned him of! At the 
doctor's request a hammer and chisel were sent for, and 
the chest broken open, and, after some difficulty, a false 
drawer was found in it. This being split open, there 
lay the missing parchment spread out flat over the whole 
breadth of the bottom of the trunk ! 

The joy of the young heir, and of his family, may be 
imagined, whilst their surprise can have been no less. 
Whether Dr. Scott informed them of the means by which 
he was led to make the discovery is not stated; but it 
is alleged the production of the needed deed confirmed 
the owner in the possession of his estates. As this 
gentleman was still living, the narrator was not inclined 
to publish his name ; and, now-a-days, the chances of 
discovering it are, doubtless, far less than they were in 

London: james street, w.o. 145 

his time of finding the missing document. Regard it 
how we may, as a dream or a coincidence, certainly 
Dr. Scott's adventure was a very marvellous one. 


In his Miscellanies, Aubrey records in his very conciso 
manner, the account of an apparition that appeared to 
a lady who lodged in James Street, Covent Garden. 
This lady was beloved by Lord Mohun's son and heir, 
M a gallant gentleman, valiant, and a great master of 
fencing and horsemanship " ; but, although she wa3 
very handsome, she was of lowlier lineage than her lover. 
Mr. Mohun, on account of some reason not stated, had 
a quarrel with " Prince Griffin," and a challenge result- 
ing therefrom, agreed to meet his antagonist in the 
morning at Chelsea-fields, and there fight him on 

In the morning Mr. Mohun started off to keep his 
appointment, but by Ebury Farm he was met by some 
people who quarrelled with and shot him. These folk 
were supposed to have been acting under " Prince 
Griffin's " orders, as Mr. Mohun, being so much the 
better horseman was, it is suggested, certain to have 
proved victorious had he met his opponent in the 
manner agreed upon. 

Mr. Mohun was murdered about ten o'clock in the 



morning; and at the identical time of his death, his 
mistress, being in bed at her lodgings in James Street, 
saw her- lover come to her bed-side, draw the curtains, 
look upon her, and then go away. She called after him, 
but received no answer. She then knocked for her maid, 
and inquired for Mr. Mohun, but the maid said she had 
not seen him, and he could not have been in the room, 
as she had the key of it in her pocket. 

This account the narrator had direct from the mouths 
of the lady and her maid. 


In a small collection of more or less known accounts of 
apparitions, edited by T. M. Jarvis, and published in 
1823, under the title of Accredited Ghost Stories, is 
one which describes the appearance of the Duchess of 
Mazarine, after her death, to Madame de Beauclair. 
The name of the authority for this story is not given, 
but Mr. Jarvis declares that he solemnly protested Lis 
conviction of the truth of it, and that several other 
persons of undoubted credit, alive when the narrative 
was published, were also satisfied as to its being a 
relation of fact. 

The Duchess of Mazarine, need it be premised, was 

mistress to Charles the Second, whilst Madame de 

Jjeauclair held a similar position towards his brother 

and successor, James the Second. These two women 

ore said to have been greatly attached to each other, a 

London : st. james's palace. 147 

somewhat singular circumstance when their positions 
are taken into consideration. 

After the burning of Whitehall these favourites of 
royalty were removed to St. James's Palace, where they 
were allotted very handsome suites of apartments, but, 
says our author, " the face of public affairs being then 
wholly changed, and a new set of courtiers as well as 
rules of behaviour come into vogue, they conversed 
almost wholly with each other." The truth would 
appear to be that these women, being neglected on 
account of new favourites, had a fellow-feeling for each 
other, and, as is not unusual in such cases, began to 
discuss matters of a graver nature than had been their 
custom hitherto. In one of the more serious consulta- 
tions which these ci-devant favourites held together on 
the immortality of the soul, they discussed the doctrine 
of apparitions, and made a solemn stipulation that 
whichever one died first, she should return, if there was 
a possibility of so doing, and give the other an accoun 
of what position she was in in the next life. 

This promise, says the account, was often repeated, 
and the Duchess happening to fall sick, and her life 
despaired of by all about her, Madame de Beauclair 
reminded her of her solemn promise, to which Her Grace 
responded that she might depend upon her performance 
of it. These words passed between them not above an 
hour before the dissolution of the Duchess, and were 
spoken before several persons who were in the room, 
although they did not comprehend the meaning of what 
they heard. 

10 * 


" Some years after the Duchess's decease, happening,* 
says our author, "in a visit I made to Madame de 
Beauclair, to fall on the topic of futurity, she expressed 
her disbelief of it with a great deal of warmth, which a 
little surprising me, as being of a quite contrary way of 
thinking myself, and had always, by the religion she 
professed, supposed her highly so." In answer to her 
interlocutor's arguments, the lady related her compact 
with her departed friend, and, in spite of all he could 
urge, deemed the non-appearance of her friend's appari- 
tion was a proof of the non-existence of a future state. 

Some months after this conversation, its narrator 
states that he was visiting at an acquaintance of Madame 
de Beauclair. " We were just set down to cards, about 
nine o'clock in the evening, as near as I can remember," 
is his record, " when a servant came hastily into the 
room and acquainted the lady I was with that Madame 
de Beauclair had sent to entreat she would come that 
moment to her, adding that if she desired ever to see 
her more in this world she must not delay her visit." 

The lady having a severe cold, and hearing that 
Madame de Beauclair was, apparently, in good health, 
declined to accede to this request, but on receiving a 
second, still more urgent message, accompanied by a 
bequest of a casket containing the watch, chain, necklace, 
and other trinkets of Madame de Beauclair, hastened to 
that lady's apartments, accompanied by our narrator. 
On arrival at Madame's, he sent up his name, and was 
requested to come up with his companion at once. 

Upon entering the room where Madame de Beauclair 


London: st. james's palace. 140 

was, she informed him, after a few introductory words, 
that she would very soon pass from this world into that 
eternity which she once doubted, but was now assured 
of. She then proceeded to declare that she had seen 
the Duchess of Mazarine. "I perceived not how she 
entered," was her statement, " but, turning my eyes 
towards yonder corner of the room, I saw her stand in 
the same form and habit she was accustomed to appear 
in when living : fain would I have spoken, but had not 
the power of utterance. She took a little circuit round 
the chamber, seeming rather to swim than walk, then 
stopped by the side of that Indian chest, and, looking 
on me with her usual sweetness, said, ' Beauclair, 
between the hours of twelve and one this night you will 
be with me.' The surprise I was in at first being a 
little abated, I began to ask some questions concerning 
that future world I was so soon to visit ; but, on the 
opening of my lips for that purpose, she vanished from 
my sight." 

i It was now nearly twelve, and Madame de Beauclair 
not appearing to be suffering from any ailment, they 
endeavoured to revive her spirits ; but, says the narrator, 
** we scarce began to speak, when suddenly her counte- 
nance changed, and she cried out, ' ! I am sick at 
heart.' Mrs. Wood applied some restoratives, but to no 
effect. She grew still worse, and in about half an hour 
expired, it being exactly the time the apparition had 

f- ^~T-^~- 



It is a carious circumstance that more buildings having 
a reputation for being haunted are discoverable in towns 
and cities than in sparsely populated places. The 
British metropolis, despite its gas-lamps and guardian 
police, contains many residences that even now are 
left to the mercies of those spectral tenants who alone 
inhabit them. It must be confessed, however, that 
instead of increasing, the number of these disturbed 
residences, for reasons obvious to all, is rapidly de- 
creasing. It is not many years since a house in St. James 
Street, the number of which it is as well to omit, 
acquired considerable notoriety on account of the un- 
pleasant noises which took place in it. It had stood 
empty for a long time, in consequence of the annoyances 
to which the various tenants who had tried it had been 
subjected. There was one apartment in particular which 
nobody was able to occupy without being disturbed. 

On one occasion a youth who, having been abroad for 
a considerable time, had not any knowledge of the evil 
reputation this chamber had acquired, was put there to 
sleep on his arrival, as it was hoped his rest might not 
be disturbed. In the morning, however, he complained 
sadly of the terrible time he had had in the night, with 
people looking in at him between the curtains of his bed, 
and he avowed his determination to terminate his visit 

London: st. james street. 151 

at once, as he could not possibly sleep there any 

After this period the house was again vacant for a 
considerable time, but was at length taken and work- 
men were sent in to put it in habitable repair. One 
day, when the men were away at their dinner, says our 
informant, " the master builder took the key with him 
and went to inspect progress, and having examined the 
lower rooms, he was ascending the stairs, when he heard 
a man's foot behind him. He looked round, but there 
was nobody there, and he moved on again ; still there 
was somebody following, and he stopped and looked 
over the rails, but there was no one to be seen. So, 
though feeling rather queer, he advanced into the 
drawing-room, where a fire had been lighted, and 
wishing to combat the uncomfortable sensation that was 
creeping over him, he took hold of a chair, and drawing 
it resolutely along the floor, he slammed it down upon 
the hearth with some force, and seated himself in it ; 
when, to his amazement, the action, in all its par- 
ticulars of sound, was immediately repeated by his 
unseen companion, who seemed to seat himself beside 
him on a chair as invisible as himself. Horror-stricken, 
the worthy builder started up and rushed out of the 



There is no place in the kingdom one would deem 
more likely to be haunted than that strange conglomera- 
tion of rooms, castles, and dungeons, known as the 
Tower of London. For many centuries it has been the 
scene of numberless deaths by violence, some by public 
execution and others by private murder, until it is 
scarcely metaphorical language to declare that its walls 
have been built out of human bones and cemented by 
human blood. That ghosts and spectres have haunted 
its weird precincts no believer in the supernatural can 
doubt; and, if we may credit all that has been told 
Df it of late years, its apparitions are not yet quite 
beings of the past. In Notes and Queries for 1860, the 
late Edmund Lenthal Swifte, Keeper of the Crown 
Jewels, published a remarkable account of a spectral 
illusion witnessed by himself in the time-honoured for- 
tress ; and his account, together with such additions 
and explanations as a subsequent correspondence in- 
voked, shall now be presented to the reader: 

" I have often purposed to leave behind me a faithful 
record of all that I personally know of this sirauge 
story," writes Mr. Swifte, in response to an inquiry as 
to particulars of the ghost in the Tower of London. 
" Forty-three years have passed, and its impression is as 
vividly before me as on the moment of its occur- 
rence . . . but there are yet survivors who can testify 


that I have not at any time either amplified or abridged 
my ghostly experiences. 

"In 1814 I was appointed Keeper of the Crown Jewels 
in the Tower, where I resided with my family till my 
retirement in 1852. One Saturday night in October, 
1817, about ' the witching hour/ I was at supper with 
my wife, her sister, and our little boy, in the sitting- 
room of the Jewel House, which then comparatively 
modernised is said to have been the ' doleful prison ' of 
Anne Boleyn, and of the ten bishops whom Oliver 
Cromwell piously accommodated therein. . . . 

" The room was as it still is irregularly shaped, 
having three doors and two windows, which last are cut 
nearly nine feet deep into the outer wall ; between these 
;s a chimney-piece, projecting far into the room, and 
(then) surmounted with a large oil-painting. On the 
night in question the doors were all closed, heavy and 
dark cloth curtains were let down over the windows, and 
the only light in the room was that of two candles on 
the table ; I sate at the foot of the table, my son on my 
right hand, his mother fronting the chimney-piece, and 
her sister on the opposite side. I had offered a glass of 
wine and water to my wife, when, on putting it to her 
lips, she paused, and exclaimed, ' Good God ! what is 
that? ' I looked up, and saw a cylindrical figure, like 
a glass-tube, seemingly about the thickness of my arm, 
and hovering between the ceiling and the table ; its 
contents appeared to be a dense fluid, white and pale 
azure, like to the gathering of a summer-cloud, and 
incessantly mingling within the cylinder This lasted 


about two minutes, when it began slowly to move 
before my sister-in-law ; then, following the oblong- 
shape of the table, before my son and myself; passing 
behind my wife, it paused for a moment over her right 
shoulder [observe, there was no mirror opposite to her in 
which she could there behold it]. Instantly she crouched 
down, and with both hands covering her shoulder, she 
shrieked out, '0 Christ! It has seized me!' Even 
now, while writing, I feel the fresh horror of that 
moment. I caught up my chair, struck at the wainscot 
behind her, rushed up- stairs to the other children's 
room, and told the terrified nurse what I had seen. 
Meanwhile, the other domestics had hurried into the 
parlour, where their mistress recounted to them the 
scene, even as I was detailing it above stairs. 

"The marvel," adds Mr. Swifte, " of all this is 
enhanced by the fact that neither my sister-in-law nor 
my son beheld this 'appearance? When I the next 
morning related the night's horror to our chaplain, 
after the service in the Tower church, he asked me, 
might not one person have his natural senses de- 
ceived ? And if one, why might not two ? My 
answer was, if two, why not two thousand ? an argu- 
ment which would reduce history, secular or sacred, to 
a fable." 

c< Our chaplain," remarked Mr. Swifte in a subsequent 
communication to Notes and Queries, " suggested the 
possibilities of some foolery having been intromitted at 
my windows, and proposed the visit of a scientific 
friend, who minutely inspected the parlour, and made 


the closest investigation, but could not in any way solve 
the mystery." 

In reply to further communications later on, the Jewel- 
Keeper stated that his wife did not perceive any form in 
the cylindrical tube, hut only the cloud or vapour which 
both of them at once described. Her health was not 
affected, nor was her life terminated, as had been sug- 
gested, by the apparition which both had seen ; nor 
could it have been, as Mr. Swifte pertinently pointed 
out, a fog or vapour that seized his wife by the shoulder. 
Finally, replying to the suggestion of f< phantasmagoric 
agency," Mr. Swifte not only made it clear that no 
optical action from outside could have produced any 
manifestation within, through the thick curtains, but 
also, that the most skilful operator could not produce 
an appearance visible to only half the persons present, 
and that could bodily lay hold of one individual among 
them. The mystery remains unsolved. 

A more tragical incident, following hard on the visita- 
tion to his own habitation, is thus alluded to by 
Mr. Swifte ; and although the tale has been told by 
many, and in many different ways, as he was so closely 
connected with it, it is but just that the Keeper's version 
should be the one accepted. 

" One of the night-sentries at the Jewel Office," 
records our authority, " was alarmed by a figure like a 
huge bear issuing from underneath the jewel-room door," 
as ghostly a door as ever was opened to or closed on 
a doomed man. " He thrust at it with his bayonet, 
which stuck in the door, even as my chair dinted the 


wainscot ; he dropped in a fit, and was carried senseless 
to the guard-room. 

" When on the morrow I saw the unfortunate soldier 
in the main guard-room," continues Mr. Swifte, " his 
fellow-sentinel was also there, and testified to having 
seen him on his post just before the alarm, awake and 
alert, and even spoken to him. Moreover, I then heard 
the poor man tell his own story. ... I saw him once 
again on the following day, but changed beyond my 
recognition ; in another day or two the brave and steady 
soldier, who would have mounted a breach or led a 
forlorn hope with unshaken nerves, died at the presence 
of a shadow." 

Mr. George Offor, referring to this tragedy, speaks of 
strange noises having also been heard when the figure 
resembling a bear was seen by the doomed soldier. 


According to Mr. J. Sullivan, in his Cumberland and 
Westmoreland, the latter county never produced a more 
famous spectre, or " bogie," to give the local term, than 
Jemmy Lowther, well known for want of a more appro- 
priate name, as the "bad Lord Lonsdale"; infamous as 
a man, he was famous as a ghost. This notorious 
character, who is described as a modern impersonation 
of the worst and coarsest feudal baron ever im- 


ported into England by the Conqueror, became a still 
greater terror to the neighbourhood after death than he 
had ever been during his life. So strongly had super- 
stitious dread of the deceased nobleman impregnated 
the popular mind, that it was asserted as an absolute 
fact, that his body was buried with difficulty, and that 
whilst the clergyman was praying over it it very nearly 
knocked him from his desk. 

When placed in his grave, Lord Lonsdale's power of 
creating alarm was not interred with his bones. There 
were continual disturbances in the hall and noises in 
the stables ; and, according to popular belief, neither 
men nor animals were suffered to rest. His Lordship's 
phantom " coach and six " is still remembered and 
spoken of, and still believed in by some to be heard 
dashing across the country. Nothing is said of the 
" bad lord's " shape or appearance, and it is doubtful 
whether the spectre has ever appeared to sight, but it 
has frequently made itself audible. The hall became 
almost uninhabitable on account of the dead man's 
pranks, and out of doors was, for a long time, almost 
equally dreaded, as even there there was constant danger 
of encountering the miscreant ghost. Of late years this 
eccentric spirit appears to have relinquished its mortal 
haunts, and by the peasantry is believed to have been 
laid for ever under a large rock called Wallow Crag. 



Many judicial decisions have been based upon, or in- 
fluenced by, the presumed testimony of apparitions, 
These pages contain more than one historical record of 
such cases, but none more singular than that of Anne 
Walker, which may be found fully detailed in the works 
of the famous Dr. Henry More, the Platonist. 

In 1680, according to Dr. More, there lived at 
Lumley, a village near Chester-le-Street, in the county of 
Durham, a widower named Walker, who was a man in 
good circumstances. Anne Walker, a young relation of 
his, kept his house, to the great scandal of the neigh- 
bourhood, and, as it proved, with but too good cause. 
A few weeks before this young woman expected to 
become a mother, Walker placed her with her aunt, one 
Dame Cave, in Chester-le-Street, and promised to pro- 
vide both for her and her future child. One evening 
towards the end of November, this man, in company 
with Mark Sharp, an acquaintance of his, came to 
Dame Cave's door, and told her they had made arrange- 
ments for removing her niece to a place where she 
could remain in safety till her confinement was over. 
They would not say where it was, but as Walker bore 
in most respects an excellent character, he was allowed 
to take the young woman away with him, and he pro- 
fessed to have sent her away with his acquaintance 
Sharp into Lancashire. 

LUMLEY. 159 

" Fourteen days after," runs the story, one Graeme, a 
fuller who lived about six miles from Lumley, had been 
engaged till past midnight in his mill; and on coming 
down-stairs to go home, in the middle of the ground floor 
he saw a woman, with dishevelled hair, covered with blood, 
and having five large wounds on her head. Graeme, on 
recovering a little from his first terror, demanded what 
the spectre wanted ; "I/' said the apparition, " am the 
spirit of Anne Walker," and then proceeded to tell 
Graeme the particulars which have already been related 
as to her removal from her aunt's abode. "When I 
was sent away with Mark Sharp,'"' it proceeded, " he 
slew me on such a moor," naming one that Graeme 
knew, " with a collier's pick, threw my body into a coal 
pit, and hid the pick under the bank; and his shoes and 
stockiugs, which were covered with blood, he left in a 
stream." The apparition proceeded to tell Graeme that 
he must give information of this to the nearest Justice 
of the Peace, and that till this was done he must look 
to be continually haunted. 

Graeme w r ent home very sad ; he dared not bring such 
a charge against a man of so unimpeachable a character 
as Walker, and yet he as little dared to incur the anger 
of the spirit that had appeared to him. So, as all weak 
minds will do, he went on procrastinating, only ho took 
care to leave his mill early, and while in it never to be 
alone. Notwithstanding this caution on his part, one 
night, just as it began to be dark, the apparition met 
him again, in a more terrible shape, and with every cir- 
cumstance of indignation, Yet he did not even then 


fulfil its injunction, till, on St. Thomas's Eve, as he 
was walking in his garden, just after sunset, it 
threatened him so effectually that in the morning he 
went to a magistrate, and revealed the whole thing. 

" The place was examined, the body and the pickaxe 
found, and a warrant was granted against Walker and 
Sharp. They were, however, admitted to bail, but in 
August, 1681, their trial came on before Judge Daven- 
port, at Durham. Meanwhile the whole circumstances 
were known all over the north of England, and the 
greatest interest was excited by the case. Against 
Sharp the fact was strong that his shoes and stockings, 
covered with blood, were found in the place where the 
murder had been committed ; but against Walker, 
except the accounts received from the ghost, there seemed 
not a shadow of evidence. Nevertheless, the judge 
summed up strongly against the prisoners, the jury 
found them guilty, and the judge pronounced sentence 
upon them that night, a thing which was unknown in 
Durham, either before or after. The prisoners were 
executed, and both died professing their innocence 
to the last. Judge Davenport was much agitated 
during the trial, and it was believed," says the historian, 
" that the spirit had also appeared to him, as if to 
supply in his mind the want of legal evidence." 



Whether Lord Orford's Norfolk residence Las the 
general reputation of being haunted, or whether the 
occasion of the much-talked-of spectral illusion to 
Dr. Augustus Jessop is the only known instance of an 
apparition having appeared there, we are not in a position 
to state. The remarkable story, as communicated by 
Dr. Jessop, the well-known antiquary, to the Athenceum 
of January 1880, is as follows. 

On the 10th of October 1879, Dr. Jessop drove to 
Lord Orford's from Norwich. It was his intention to 
spend some time at the Hall in examining and making 
extracts from various scarce works, which he had long 
been seeking for, and which he now learnt were in Lord 
Orford's library. 

He arrived at Mannington at four in the afternoon, 
and, after some agreeable conversation, dressed for dinner. 
Dinner took place at seven, and was partaken of by six 
persons, including Dr. Jessop and his host. The con- 
versation is declared to have been of a pleasant character, 
to have been chiefly concerned with artistic questions, 
and the experiences of men of the world, and to have 
never trenched upon supernatural subjects. After dinner 
cards were introduced, and at half-past ten, two of the 
guests having to leave, the party broke up. Dr. Jessop 
now desired to be permitted to sit up for some hours, in 
order to make extracts from the works already referred 



to. Lord Orford wished to leave a valet with his guest, 
hut the doctor deeming that this might embarrass him, 
and cause him to go to bed earlier than he wished, 
requested to be left to his own devices. This was agreed 
to, the servants were dismissed, and the host and his 
other guests retired to their rooms, so that by eleven 
o'clock Dr. Jessop was the only person down-stairs. 

The apartment in which he was preparing to set to 
work for a few hours is a large one, with a huge fire- 
place ' and a great old-fashioned chimney, and is 
furnished with every luxury. The library, whence Dr. 
Jessop had to bring such volumes as he needed, opens 
into this room, and in order to obtain the works he 
wanted he had not only to go into it, but when there to 
mount a chair to get down the books he required. In 
his very circumstantial account of the affair, the anti- 
quary relates that he had altogether six small volumes, 
which he took down from their shelves and placed in a 
little pile on the table, at his right hand. In a little while 
he was busily at work, sometimes reading, sometimes 
writing, and thoroughly absorbed in his occupation. As 
he finished with a book he placed it in front of him, 
and then proceeded with the next, and so on until ho 
had only one volume of his little pile of tomes left to 
deal with. The antiquary being, as he states, of a chilly 
temperament, sat himself at a corner of the table with 
the fire at his left. Occasionally he rose, knocked the 
fire together, and stood up to warm his feet. In this 
manner he went on until nearly one o'clock, when he 
appears to have congratulated himself upon the rapid 


progress lie had made with his task, and that after all 
he should get to hed by two. He got up, and wound up 
his watch, opened a bottle of seltzer-water, and then, 
reseating himself at the table, upon which were four 
silver candlesticks containing lighted candles, he set to 
work upon the last little book of the heap. What now 
happened must be told in Dr. Jessop's own words : 

" I had been engaged upon it about half an hour," 
said he, referring to the little volume, " and was just 
beginning to think that my work was drawing to a close, 
when, as I was actually writing, I saw a large white 
hand within a foot of my elbow. Turning my head, 
there sat a figure of a somewhat large man, with his 
back to the fire, bending slightly over the table, and 
apparently examining the pile of books that I had been 
at work upon. The man's face was turned away from 
me, but I saw his closely-cut reddish-brown hair, his 
ear, and shaved cheek, the eye-brow, the corner of the 
right eye, the side of the forehead, and the large high 
cheek-bone. He was dressed in what I can only describe 
as a kind of ecclesiastical habit of thick-corded silk, or 
some such material, close up to the throat, and a narrow 
rim or edging, of about an inch broad, of satin or velvet, 
serving as a stand-up collar, and fitting close to the 
chin. The right hand, which had first attracted my 
attention, was clasping, without any great pressure, the 
left hand ; both hands were in perfect repose, and the 
large blue veins of the right hand were conspicuous. I 
remember thinking that the hand was like the hand of 
Velasquez's magnificent * Dead Knight/ in the National 



Gallery. I looked at my visitor for some seconds, and 
was perfectly sure that he was not a reality. A thou* 
sand thoughts came crowding upon me, but not the 
least feeling of alarm, or even uneasiness ; curiosity 
and a strong interest were uppermost. For an instant I 
felt eager to make a sketch of my friend, and I looked 
at a tray on my right for a pencil ; then I thought, 
' Up-stairs I have a sketch-book shall I fetch it?' 
There he sat, and I was fascinated ; afraid not of his 
staying, but lest he should go, 

" Stopping in my writing, I lifted my left hand from 
the paper, stretched it out to the pile of books, and 
moved the top one. I cannot explain why I did this 
my arm passed in front of the figure, and it vanished. 
I was simply disappointed and nothing more. I went 
on with my writing as if nothing had happened, perhaps 
for another five minutes, and had actually got to the 
last few words of what I had determined to extract, when 
the figure appeared again, exactly in the same place and 
attitude as before. I saw the hands close to my own ; I 
turned my head again to examine him more closely, and 
I was framing a sentence to address him when I dis- 
covered that I did not dare to speak. / was afraid of 
the sound of my own voice. There he sat, and there 
sat I. I turned my head again to my work, and finished 
writing the two or three words I still had to write. The 
paper and my notes are at this moment before me, and 
exhibit not the slightest tremor or nervousness. I could 
point out the words I was writing when the phantom 
came, and when he disappeared. Having finished my 


task, I shut the book, and threw it on the table ; it 
made a slight noise as it fell the figure vanished. 

" Throwing myself back in my chair, I sat for some 
seconds looking at the fire with a curious mixture of 
feeling, and I remember wondering whether my friend 
would come again, and if he did whether he would hide 
the fire from me. Then first there stole upon me a dread 
and a suspicion that I was beginning to lose my nerve. 
I remember yawning ; then I rose, lit my bed-room 
candle, took my books into the inner library, mounted 
the chair as before, and replaced five of the volumes ; 
the sixth I brought back and laid upon the table where 
I had been writing when the phantom did me the honour 
to appear to me. By this time I had lost all sense of 
uneasiness. I blew out the four candles and marched 
off to bed, where I slept the sleep of the just or the 
guilty I know not which but I slept very soundly." 

And that is the conclusion of the story, so far as 
Dr. Jessop's published account goes, Numerous eluci- 
dations have been attempted by the wise, and the 
otherwise; but whether hallucination, spectral illusion, 
or trickery, no one has been enabled to prove, and as 
the hero of the tale declines to proffer " explanation, 
theory, or inference," the affair continues to be a 



In July 1858, Mr. John Pavin Phillips, a well-known 
contributor to Notes and Queries, furnished that valu- 
able publication with some instances of " Second Sight 
and Supernatural Warnings," which had occurred either 
to himself, or to his most immediate relatives. The 
whole country of Pembroke, Mr. Pavin Phillips states, 
is rife with tales of this class, and, indeed, he might 
have added, every county of the three kingdoms as 
well, so universal and deeply-defined is the belief in 
them. From the stories, for the authenticity of which 
this gentleman vouches, may be cited the following. 

" Many years ago, seven or eight members of the 
family of my paternal grandfather, were seated at the 
door of his house on a fine summer evening, between 
the hours of eight and nine o'clock. The parish church 
and its yard are only separated from the spot by a brook 
and a couple of meadows. The family happened to 
be looking in the direction of the churchyard, when 
they were amazed by witnessing the advent of a funeral 
procession. They saw the crowd, and the coffin borne 
on men's shoulders come down the pathway towards the 
church, but the distance was too great to enable them to 
recognise the faces of any of the actors in the scene. 
As the funeral 'cortege neared the church porch, they 
distinctly saw the clergyman, with whom they were 
personally acquainted, come out in his surplice to meet 


the mourners, and saw him precede them into the 
church. In a short time they came out, and my rela- 
tives saw them go to a particular part of the yard, 
where they remained for a time long enough to allow 
the remainder of the supposed funeral rites to he per- 
formed. Greatly amazed at what he beheld, my grand- 
father sent over to the church to inquire who had been 
buried at that unusual hour. The messenger returned 
with the intelligence that no person had been buried 
during that day, nor for several days before. A short 
time after this a neighbour died, and was buried in the 
precise spot where the phantom interment was seen." 

The whole of Mr. Pavin Phillips's family would 
appear to have possessed the faculty of ghost-seeing, or 
rather to have been endowed with the capability, so well 
known among the Scotch, of Second Sight. In another 
instance of this power of foreseeing events his mother 
was the medium. Her father, says our authority, 
" lived on the banks of one of the many creeks or pills 
with which the beautiful harbour of Milford Haven is 
indented. In front of the house is a large court, built 
on a quay wall to protect it from the rising tide. In 
this court my mother was walking one fine evening, 
rather more than sixty years ago " (this was written in 
1858), " enjoying the moonlight and the balmy summer 
breeze. The tide tvas out, so that the creek was empty. 
Suddenly my mother's attention was aroused by hearing 
the sound of a boat coming up the pill ; the measured 
dip of the oars in the water, and the noise of their revo- 
lution in the rowlocks, were distinctly audible. Pre- 


sently she heard the keel of the boat grate on the 
gravelly beach by the side of the quay wall. Greatly 
alarmed, as nothing was visible, she ran into the house, 
and related what she had heard. A few days afterwards, 
the mate of an East Indiaman, which had put into 
Milford Haven for the purpose of undergoing repair, 
died on board, and his coffined corpse was brought up 
the pill, and landed at the very spot where my mother 
heard the phantom boat touch the ground." 

In the next incident of supernatural foresight related 
by Mr. Pavin Phillips, it is in a servant of the family 
that the power is manifested, so that it would appear as 
if the locality, rather than the dwellers in it, were 
haunted. He relates that in the year 1838 he was on a 
visit to his parents, " who, at that time, resided on the 
spot on which my mother was born, and where she 
passed the latter years of her life. Within a short 
distance of the house stood a large walled garden, 
which was approached through a gate leading into a 
stable-yard. From underneath the garden wall bubbled 
d well of delicious spring water, whence the domestic 
offices were supplied. It was a custom of the family, 
in the summer time, that the water for the use of the 
house should be brought in late in the evening, in order 
that it might be cool, and it was the duty of a servant 
to go out with a yoke and a couple of pails to fetch 
the water just before the time of closing up the house 
for the night. One evening the girl had gone out for 
this purpose ; the night was beautifully fine, the moon 
shining so brightly that the smallest object was distinctly 


visible. Tho servant had not been absent many 
minutes when she ran into the house without her 
burden, and throwing herself into a chair in a state of 
extreme terror, fainted away. Restoratives having been 
used, she recovered a little and, upon being questioned 
as to the cause of her alarm, she told us that as she 
was stooping over the well, about to fill one of her 
pails, she suddenly found herself in the midst of a 
crowd of people who were carrying a coffin, which they 
had set down at the gate of the stable-yard. As she 
had received no intimation of the approach of the con- 
course by any sound of footsteps, she was greatly 
alarmed, and as the object borne by the throng did not 
tend to tranquillise her nerves, she took to her heels, 
leaving her pails behind her. As no persuasion could 
induce her to return to the well, I offered to do so for 
her, and to ascertain the cause of her terror. When I 
arrived at the stable-yard, there was neither coffin nor 
crowd to be seen, and upon asking a neighbour, whose 
cottage commanded a view of the well, whether she had 
seen a funeral go by, she put a stop to any further 
inquiry by asking me * who had ever heard of a funeral 
at ten o'clock at night ? ' To which pertinent query I 
could only reply by stating what the servant professed 
to have seen. So the matter rested for a few weeks, 
when there occurred an unusually high tide in Milford 
Haven. The water rose above the level of the ordinary 
springs, filling the creek, and flowing into the court in 
front of the house. It only ebbed when it had reached 
the door. The roadway at the end of the pill was im- 


passable. A person having died on the opposite side of 
the inlet a few days before this, the funeral took place on 
the morning of the high tide ; and as it was impossible 
to take the corpse to the parish church by the usual 
route, the bearers crossed the pill in a boat with the 
coffin and having laid it down at the gate of our stable - 
yard, remained there until the boat could bring over the 
remainder of the funeral concourse." 

The last instance of this insight into the future which 
we shall cite from Mr.Pavin Phillips's highly suggestive 
and interesting communication, is the record of an inci- 
dent of the character referred to which occurred to him 
himself, in the year 1848, upon his return home after 
several years' absence. "A few days after my arrival," he 
states, "I took a walk one morning in the yard of one of 
our parish churches^ through which there is a right of 
way for pedestrians. My object was a twofold one : firstly 
to enjoy the magnificent prospect visible from that 
elevated position ; and secondly, to see whether any of 
my friends or acquaintances who had died during my 
absence were buried in the locality. After gazing around 
me for a short time, I sauntered on, looking at one 
tombstone and then at another, when my attention was 
arrested by an altar-tomb enclosed within an iron 
railing. I walked up to it, and read an inscription 
which informed me that it was in memory of Colonel 

. This gentleman had been the assistant Poor 

Law Commissioner for South Wale*, and while on one 
of his periodical tours of inspection, he was seized with 
apoplexy in the workhouse of my native town, and died 


in a few hours. This was suggested to my mind as I 
read the inscription on the tomb, as the melancholy 
event occurred during the period of my absence, and I 
was only made cognisant of the fact through the 
medium of the local press. Not being acquainted with 

the late Colonel , and never having even seen him, 

the circumstances of his sudden demise had long passed 
from my memory, and were only revived by my thus 
viewing his tomb. I then passed on, and shortly after- 
wards returned home. On my arrival my father asked 
me in what direction I had been walking ? I replied, 

1 In churchyard, looking at the tombs, and among 

others I have seen the tomb of Colonel , who died 

in the workhouse.' 'That,' replied my father, 'is im- 
possible, as there is no tomb erected over Colonel 's 

grave/ At this remark I laughed. ' My dear father/ said 
I, ' you want to persuade me that I cannot read. I was 
not aware that Colonel was buried in the church- 
yard, and was only informed of the fact by reading the 
inscription on the tomb.' * Whatever you may say to 
the contrary,' said my father, ' what I tell you is true, 

there is no tomb over Colonel 's grave. 5 Astounded 

by the reiteration of this statement, as soon as I had 
dined I returned to the churchyard, and again inspected 
all the tombs having railings round them, and found 
that my father was right. There was not only no tomb 

bearing the name of Colonel , but there was no 

tomb at all corresponding in appearance with the one I 
had seen. Unwilling to credit the evidence of my own 
senses, I went to the cottage of an old acquaintance of 


my boyhood, who lived outside of the churchyard gate, 

and asked her to show me the place where Colonel 

lay buried. She took me to the spot, which was a green 
mound, undistinguished in appearance from the sur- 
rounding graves. Nearly two years subsequent to this 
occurrence, surviving relatives erected an altar-tomb, 
with a railing round it, over the last resting-place of 
Colonel , and it was, as nearly as I could remem- 
ber, an exact reproduction of the memorial of my day- 

Verily, " there are more things in heaven and earth 
than are dreamt of in your philosophy ," 


Nannau, the ancient residence of the Vaughan family, 
in Merionethshire, is said to stand upon the highest 
ground of any gentleman's seat in Great Britain. In 
the days of the famous Owen Glendower, this roman- 
tically-situated dwelling was occupied by Howel Sele, a 
first cousin of the Welsh prince. The cousins do not 
appear to have lived on friendly terms, Howel Sele 
siding with the Lancastrians, whilst Glendower, it need 
scarcely be remarked, was a fierce Yorkist. Ultimately 
their antagonism came to a fatal termination. There 

NANNAU. 173 

are several versions of the legend, but it is better to 
adopt that related by Pennant because, although it does 
not accord with some of the ballads on the subject, it 
appears to have a historic basis. The historian states 
that Glendower and Sele having long been at variance, 
the Abbot of Kymmer brought them together in hopes 
of reconciling them, and had, apparently, succeeded in 
effecting this charitable purpose. Whilst the two cousins 
were out hunting together, after their apparent recon- 
ciliation, Owen observed a doe feeding, and remarked to 
Howel, who was considered the best archer of the day, 
that there was a fine mark for him. Howel bent his 
bow and, pretending to take aim at the doe, suddenly 
turned and discharged his arrow full at Glendower's 
breast : 

Then cursed Howel's cruel shaft, 
His royal brother's blood had quaffed, 

Alas ! for Cambria's weal ! 
But the false arrow glanced aside, 
For 'neath the robe of royal pride, 

Lay plate of Milan steeL* 

Fortunately for him the Welsh chieftain, as described 
by the poet, had armour beneath his clothes, and there- 
fore received no hurt. But, enraged at his kinsman's 
treachery, he turned upon him fiercely, and although 
Howel was fully armed, after a short conflict, slew him ! 
The next thing was how to dispose of the body ; and 
according to the ballad of the Spirit's Blasted Tree, by 
the Kev. George Warrington, it wa3 Madog, Glen- 

* The Demon Oak, by Walter Thornbury. 


dower's companion, who suggested for the place of 
sepulture - 

A broad and blasted oak, 

Scorcbed by tbe ligbtning's vivid glare, 

Hollow its stem from branch to root, 
And all its shrivelled arms were bare. 

Be this, I cried, the proper grave 

(The thought in me was deadly sin) : 

Aloft we raised the bapless chief, 

And dropped his "bleeding corpse within. 

After this dire catastrophe Glendower returned in 
haste to his stronghold, without, of course, giving any 
information to the Lord of Nannau's people. Howel 
was sought for in every direction, hut was nowhere to 
be found. His alarmed retainers hunted through all the 
recesses of the neighbouring forest, the while his sorrow- 
ing wife shut herself up from all comfort in the solitude 
of her gloomy castle. The years passed by, and no 
tidings reached Nannau of the missing lord : 

Yet Fancy, in a thousand shapes. 

Bore to his home the chief once more ; 

Some saw him on High Mod's top, 
Some saw him on the winding shore. 

With wonder fraught, the tale went round- 
Amazement chained the hearer's tongue, 

Each peasant felt his own sad loss, 
Yet fondly o'er tho story hung. 

Oft by the moon's pale shadowy light, 

His aged nurse, and steward gray. 
WduM lean to catch the storied sounds, 

Or mark the flitting spirit stray. 


Pale lights on Cader's rocks were seen, 

And midnight voices heard to moan ; 
'Twas even said the Blasted Oak, 

Convulsive, heaved a hollow groan 

But still the fate of Howel Sele remained unknown to 
everyone save Glendower and bis companion Madog. 
At last, after ten years of silence, Glendower died, and 
the partaker of the chieftain's secret was at liberty to 
reveal the mystery ; his lord's last words being : 

To Sole's sad widow bear the tale, 

Nor let our horrid secret rest : 
Give but his corse to sacred earth, 

Then may my parting soul be blest, 

Madog hastened to obey his prince's last behest, and, 
as soon as events allowed, betook himself to Nan nan's 
saddened home, and told the horrified and long-hoping 
wife that she was a widow indeed. The revelation was 
rapidly noised abroad among the retainers, and confirm- 
ation of it demanded; Madog led them to the blasted 
oak, which was hastily rent open, and the bleaching 
skeleton exposed to view : 

Back they recoiled the right hand still, 
Contracted, grasped the rusty sword ; 

Yv'hich erst in many a battle gleamed, 

And proudly decked their slaughtered lord. 

They bore the corse to Vanner's shrine, 
With holy rites and prayers address'd ; 

Nine white-robed monks the last dirge sang, 
And gave the angry spirit rest. 

But notwithstanding the burial rites were read, and 


many masses said for their dead lord, his spirit was not 
believed to be at rest, and almost down to the present 
day the fearsome peasant has dreaded to pass at night 
by the blasted oak, " the hollow oak of the demons." 
Until its fall and destruction on the 13th of July 1813, 
the haunted tree was an object of nocturnal dread, and 
the poet could truly say: 

And to this day the peasant still 

With fear avoids the ground ; 
In each wild branch a spectre sees, 

And trembles at each rising sound. 


Like so many old baronial residences, Newstead has 
the reputation of beiug haunted, and that by more than 
one spectre. But the name and fame of the last of 
the Byron s of Newstead has over-clouded and obscured 
all previous tenants, mortal or otherwise, and flung 
a pall of poetic melancholy over the whole domain 
that no spiritual apparitions can survive. The legends 
connected with Newstead are manv, and descend from 
that mysterious maid of Saracen birth or residence, 
whose form and features are so frequently repeated in 
the ancient panel-work of the Abbey's interior, down 
to Lord Byron's immediate predecessor in the title 
and estates. "Devil Byron," as this man was called, 


among other wild tales connected with his name, was 
said to he haunted by the spirit of a sister, whom he 
refused to speak to for years preceding her death in 
consequence of a family scandal, notwithstanding her 
heart-rending appeals of " Speak to me, my lord ' Do 
speak to me ! - Ebenezer Elliott, in a ballad he wrote 
on this legend, int/oduces the apparitions of both 
* Devil Byron" and his sister as riding forth together 
in foul weather, the lady still making passionate 
appeals to the immovable brother to speak to her : 

Well sleep the dead : in holy ground 

Well sleeps the heart of iron ; 
The worm that pares his sister's cheek, 

What cares it for Byron ? 

Yet when her night of death comes round, 

They ride and drive together ; 
And ever, when they ride and drive, 

Wilful is the weather. 

On mighty winds, in spectre coach, 

Fast speeds the heart of iron ; 
On spectre-steed, the spectre-dame 

Side by side with Byron. 

Oh, Night doth love her ! Oh, the clouds 

They do her form environ 1 
The lightning weeps it hears her sob 

" Speak to me, Lord Byron I " 

On winds, on clouds, they ride, they drive. 

Oh, hark, thou heart of iron ! 
The thunder whispers mournfully, 

" Speak to her, Lord Byron I " 

Another family apparition which is said to have 



haunted the old Abbey, was that of " Sir John Byron 
the Little, with the Great Beard." An ancient portrait 
of this mysterious ancestor, some few years since, was 
still hanging over the door of the great saloon, and 
was said to sometimes descend at midnight from its 
sombre frame, and promenade the state apartments. 
Indeed, this ancient worthy's visitations were not con- 
fined to night only ; one young lady, on a visit to the 
Abbey some years ago, positively asserting that in broad 
daylight, the room of his chamber being open, she saw 
Sir John the Little sitting by the fire-place, and reading 
out of an old-fashioned book. 

Many other apparitions have been seen about this 
ancient time-honoured building, and Washington Irving 
mentions that a young lady, Lord Byron's cousin, when 
she was staying at the Abbey, slept in the room next 
the clock, and that one night, when she was in bed, 
she saw a lady in white come out of the wall on one 
side of the room and go into the wall on the other side. 
Many curious noises and strange sights have been heard 
and seen by residents and visitors at Newstead; but the 
best known and most noted spectre connected with the 
place, and immortalised by Byron's verse, is the "Goblin 
Friar." The particular chamber that this spectre is sup- 
posed to especially frequent, and which is known par 
excellence, as "the Haunted Chamber," adjoins Byron's 
bed-room. During the poet's residence this dismal- 
looking room was occupied by his page, a beautiful 
ooy, whom the scandal-loving female servants would 
have was a girl. 


Lord Byron, and many others, not only believed in 
the existence of the Black Friar, but asserted that they 
had reallv seen it. It did not confine its visitations, 
however, to the "haunted chamber," but at night walked 
the cloisters and other portions of the Abbey: 

A monk arrayed 
In cowl, and beads, and dusky garb, appeared, 

Now in the moonlight, and now lapsed in shade, 
"With steps that trod as heavy, yet unheard. 

This apparition is the evil genius of the Byrons, 
and its appearance portends misfortune of some kind to 
the member of the family to whom it appears. Lord 
Byron fully believed that he beheld this apparition a 
short time before the greatest misfortune of his life, his 
ill-starred union with Miss Millbanke. Alluding to his 
faith in these things, he said : 

I merely mean to say what Johnson said, 

That in the course of some six thousand years, 

All nations have believed that from the dead 
A visitant at intervals appears ; 

And what is strangest upon this strange head, 
Is that whatever bar the reason rears 

'Gainst such belief, there 's something stronger still 

In its behalf, let those deny who will. 

And he thus introduces the presumed duties, as it 
were, of the Black Friar : 

By the marriage-bed of their lords, 'tis said, 

He flits on the bridal eve ; 
And 'tis held as faith, to their bed of death 

He conies but not to grieve. 


When an heir is born, he is heard to mourn. 

And -when aught is to befall 
That ancient line, in the pale moonshine, 

He walks from hall to hall. 

His form you may trace, but not his face, i 

Tis shadowed by his cowl ; 
But his eyes may be seen from the folds between, 

And they seem of a parted soul. 

Among the numerous people who have asserted that 
they saw the Black Friar was a Miss Kitty Parkins, a 
relative of the poet ; and she is even said to have made 
a sketch of the apparition from memory, 



The following account, certainly one of the most 
remarkable in our collection, is related upon the autho* 
rity of Mrs. Crowe, who introduces it in her Night Side 
of Nature, as having been furnished to her by the Mrs. 
L. of the story, herself a lady, remarks Mrs. Crowe, 
" with whose family I am acquainted." 

A few years since, Mrs. L. took a furnished house, 
in Stevenson Street, North Shields, and she had been in 
it a very few hours before she was perplexed by hearing 
feet in the passage, though whenever she opened the 
door she could see nobody. She went to the kitchen* 


and asked the servant if she had not heard the same 
sound ; she said she had not, but there seemed to be 
strange noises in the house. When Mrs. L. went to 
bed, she could not go to sleep for the noise of a child's 
rattle, which seemed to be inside her curtains. It 
rattled round her head, first on one side then on the 
other ; then there were sounds of feet and of a child 
crying, and a woman sobbing; and, in short, so many 
strange noises, that the servant became frightened, and 
went away. The next girl Mrs. L. engaged came from 
Leith, and was a stranger to the place ; but she had 
only passed a night in the house, when she said to her 
mistress, u This is a troubled house you 've got into 
ma'am," and she described, amongst the rest, that she 
had repeatedly heard her own name called by a voice 
near her, though she could see nobody. 

One night Mrs. L. heard a voice, like nothing human, 
close to her, cry, " Weep ! Weep ! Weep ! " Then there 
was a sound like someone struggling for breath, and 
again, " Weep ! Weep ! Weep ! ' Then the gasping, 
and a third time, " Weep ! Weep ! Weep ! " She stood 
still, and looked steadfastly on the spot whence the voice 
proceeded, but could see nothing ; and her little boy, 
who held her hand, kept saying, " What is that, 
Mamma? What is that ? " She describes the sound 
as most frightful. All the noises seemed to suggest 
the idea of childhood, and of a woman in trouble. One 
night, when it was crying round her bed, Mrs. L. took 
courage and adjured it; upon which the noise ceased 
for that time, but there was no answer. Mr. L. was 


at sea when she took the house, and when he came 
home, he laughed at the story at first, but soon became 
so convinced the account she gave was correct, that he 
wanted to have the boards taken up, because, from the 
noises seeming to hover much about one spot, he 
thought perhaps some explanation of the mystery might 
be found. But Mrs. L. objected that if anything of 
a painful nature were discovered she should not be able 
to continue in the house ; and, as she must pay the 
year's rent, she wished, if possible, to continue for the 
whole period. 

She never saw anything but twice; once, the appear- 
ance of a child seemed to fall from the ceiling close 
to her, and then disappear ; and another time she saw 
a child run into a closet in a room at the top of the 
house ; and it was most remarkable that a small door 
in that room which was used for going out on the roof, 
always stood open. However often they shut it, it was 
opened again immediately by an unseen hand, even 
before they got out of the room, and this continued 
the whole time they were in the house ; whilst night 
and day, someone in creaking shoes was heard pacing 
backwards and forwards in the room over Mr. and Mrs. 
L.'s heads. 

At length the year expired, and, to their great relief, 
they quitted the house ; but five or six years afterwards, 
a person who had bought it having taken up the floor 
of that upper room to repair it, there was found, close to 
the small door above alluded to, the skeleton of a child. 
It was then remembered that, some years before, a 

OTTERY. 183 

gentleman of somewhat dissolute habits had resided 
there, and that he was supposed to have been on very 
intimate terms with a young woman servant who lived 
with him ; but there had been no suspicion of anything 
more criminal. 


The famous Dr. Abererombie, in his Inquiries concern- 
ing the Intellectual Powers, adduces, as an undoubted 
fact, one of the most singular and inexplicable stories 
on record. The marvel of this story does not merely 
consist in the wonderful coincidence of the two con- 
curring and synchronous dreams, but also in the per- 
sistent way with which the mother held that she had 
not dreamed her son appeared to her, but that he had 
really, if not in body then in spirit, been to her bedside 
and spoken to her. The account of this extraordinary 
affair was written by one of the persons concerned ; that 
is to say, the Rev. Joseph Wilkins, who at the time it 
occurred, in 1754, he being then twenty-three years of 
age, was usher in a school at St. Mary Ottery, Devon- 
shire, celebrated as the birth-place of Coleridge. Wil- 
kins subsequently became a well-known dissenting 

" One night," runs his narrative, "soon after I was 
in bed, I fell asleep, and dreamed I was going to Lon 


don. I thought it would not be much out of my way 
to go through Gloucestershire, and call upon my friends 
there. Accordingly, I set out, hut remembered nothing 
that happened by the way till I came to my father's 
house ; when I went to the front door and tried to open 
it, but found it fast. Then I went to the back door, 
which I opened and went in ; but finding all the 
family were in bed, I crossed the rooms only, went up- 
stairs, and entered the chamber where my father and 
mother were in bed. As I went by the side of the bed 
on which my father lay, I found him asleep, or thought 
he was so ; then I went to the other side, and having just 
turned the foot of the bed, I found my mother awake, 
to whom I said these words : " Mother, I am going a 
long journey, and am come to bid you good-bye.' 
Upon which she answered in a fright, * Oh, dear son, 
thou art dead ! ' With this I awoke, and took no 
notice of it more than a common dream, except that it 
appeared to me very perfect. 

" In a few days after, as soon as a letter could reach 
me, I received one by post from my father; upon the 
receipt of which I was a little surprised, and concluded 
something extraordinary must have happened, as it was 
but a short time before I had a letter from my friends, 
and all were well. Upon opening it I was more sur- 
prised still, for my father addressed me as though I 
were dead, desiring me, if alive, or whose ever hands the 
letter might fall into, to write immediately; but if the 
letter should find me living, they concluded I should 
not live long, and gave this as the reason of their fears : 

OTTERY. 185 

That on a certain night, naming it, after they were in 
bed, my father asleep and my mother awake, she heard 
somebody try to open the front door; but finding it 
fast, he went to the back door, which he opened, came 
in, and came directly through the rooms upstairs, and 
she perfectly knew it to be my step ; but I came to her 
bedside, and spoke to her these words : ' Mother, I am 
going a long journey, and have come to bid you good- 
bye.' Upon which she answered me in a fright, ' Oh, 
dear son, thou art dead ! ' which were the circum- 
stances and words of my dream. But she heard nothing 
more, and saw nothing more; neither did I in my 
dream. Much alarmed she woke my father, and told 
him what had occurred ; but he endeavoured to appease 
her, persuading her it was only a dream. She insisted 
it was no dream, for that she was as perfectly awake as 
ever she was, and had not the least inclination to sleep 
since she was in bed. 

" From these circumstances I am inclined to think it 
was at the very same instant when my dream happened, 
though the distance between us was about one hundred 
miles ; but of this I cannot speak positively. This 
occurred while I was at the academy at Ottery, Devon, 
in the year 1754, and at this moment every circum- 
stance is fresh upon my mind. I have, since, had 
frequent opportunities of talking over the affair with 
my mother, and the whole was as fresh upon her mind 
as it was upon mine. I have often thought that her 
sensations as to this matter were stronger than mine. 
What may appear strange is, that I cannot remember 


anything remarkable happening hereupon. This is 
only a plain, simple narrative of a matter of fact." 

As the Rev. Joseph Wilkins points out, at the con- 
clusion of this marvellous story, nothing remarkable 
followed it; his own death, which his mother had so 
much feared was portended, did not take place until 
November 22, 1800, when he was in the seventieth year 
of his age. The Gentleman's Magazine, in its obituary 
of Wilkins, remarked that, " for liberality of sentiment, 
generosity of disposition, and uniform integrity, he had 
few equals and hardly any superiors." 


Oulton High House, in Suffolk, now a school, was 
long known as <; the Haunted House." It was built in 
1550 by one of the Hobarts, and still retains a fine old 
mantelpiece, and other curious carved work, as ancient 
as the house itself. It is popularly believed to have 
acquired its ill-omened title on account of some deed 
of darkness committed within its precincts. At mid- 
night, according to tradition, a wild huntsman and his 
hounds, together with a white lady carrying a poisoned 
cup, are supposed to issue forth and go their feverish 

The origin of one member of this spectral group is 
traced back to the reign of George II., and the story is 
that the owner at that period of the High House, a 


roystering squire, returning home from the chase un- 
expectedly, discovered his wife with an officer, his guest, 
in too familiar a friendship. High words followed, and 
the injured hushand striking his wife's lover, the man 
drew his sword and drove it through his assailant's 
heart. The assassin and his guilty love fled, carrying 
away with them all the jewels and gold they could 
obtain possession of. 

After a lapse of several years the guilty woman's 
daughter, who had been forgotten in the hasty de- 
parture, having grown to womanhood, was affianced to 
a youthful farmer of the neighbourhood. A bleak 
November night, on the eve of the marriage, as the 
happy pair were sitting together in the old hall, a car- 
riage, black and sombre as a hearse, with closely-drawn 
curtains, and attended by servants clad in sable liveries, 
drew up to the door. These men, who were masked, 
rushed into the hall, and seizing the young girl, carried 
her off in the carriage to her unnatural mother, after 
having stabbed her betrothed as he vainly endeavoured 
to rescue her. A grave is stated to be pointed out in 
the cemetery at Namur, as that in which was laid the 
corpse of the unhappy daughter, her mother having, so 
it is alleged, completed the catalogue of her crimes by 
poisoning the hapless girl. And after that, there is 
little wonder that the old residence was haunted by the 
spectre of the wretched woman, as wife and as mothel 
equally criminal. As to what the weird huntsman and 
his ghostly hounds signify, tradition is silent. 




Like most of the older foundations of Alma Maier, 
Queen's College has had its ghost. The Kev. Mr. More 
of Leyton, Essex, formerly of Queen's, Oxford, a man of 
veracity and learning, who died in 1778, left this story 
of an apparition that favoured his own college with 
a visit. 

Mr. John Bonnell was a commoner of Queen's 
College, Oxford. He was remarkable in his person 
and gait, and, from a peculiar manner he had of holding 
up his gown behind, might be recognised almost as 
readily by his back as by his face. 

" On Sunday, November the 18th, 1750, at noon, 
Mr. Ballard, who was then of Magdalen College, and 
myself," says Mr. More, "were talking together at 
Parker's door. I was then waiting for the sound of 
the trumpet for dinner, and suddenly Mr. Ballard cried 
out, ' Dear me, who is that coming out of your college? ' 
I looked, and saw, as I supposed, Mr. Bonnell, and 
replied, * He is a gentleman of our house, and his name 
is Bonnell ; he comes from Stanton Harcourt.' ' Why, 
bless me,' said Mr. Ballard, ' I never saw such a face 
in all my life.' I answered slightly, ' His face is much 
the same as it always is ; I think it is a little more 
inflamed and swelled than it is sometimes, perhaps he 
has buckled his band too tight, but I should not have 

oxfoed : queen's college. 189 

observed it if you had not spoken.' ' Well,' said Mr. 
Ballard again, ' I never shall forget him, as long as 
I live ' ; and appeared to be much disconcerted and 

(t This figure I saw without any emotion or suspicion," 
proceeds Mr. More; "it came down the quadrangle, 
came out at the gate, and walked up the High Street. 
We followed it with our eyes till it came to Catherine 
Street, where it was lost. 

" The trumpet then sounded, and Mr. Ballard and I 
parted ; and I went into the hall, and thought no more 
of Mr. Bonnell. 

" In the evening the prayers of the chapel were 
desired for one who was in a very sick and dangerous 
condition. When T came out of the chapel, I inquired 
of one of the scholars, James Harrison, in the hearing 
of several others who were standing before the kitchen 
fire, who it was that was prayed for, and was answered, 
' Mr. Bonnell, senior.' * Bonnell senior ! ' said I, with 
astonishment; what is the matter with him? He was 
very well to-day, for I saw him go out to dinner.' 'You 
are very much mistaken,' answered Harrison, ' for he has 
not been out of his bed for some days.' I then asserted 
more positively that I had seen him, and that a gentle- 
man was with me who saw him too. 

" This came presently to the ears of Dr. Fothergill, 
who had been my tutor. After supper he took me aside, 
and questioned me about it, and said he was very sorry 
1 had mentioned the matter so publicly, for Mr. Bonnell 
was dangerously ill. I replied I was very sorry too, 


but I had done it innocently. The next day Mi. 
Bonnell died." 

Mr. More states that Mr. Ballard was applied to, 
and bore witness to the fact that the figure he had so 
particularly noticed was stated to be Mr. Bonnell, who 
was of Queen's, and came from Stanton Harcourt. It 
may, also, be added that when this curious story, found 
among the Rev. Mr. More's papers at his decease, 
was published in the Gentleman } s Magazine t and other 
contemporary publications, the particulars were con- 
firmed, in various ways, by persons referred to in the 
story. As the account of an apparition or wraith of 
a person on the pjir.t of death, seen by more than 
one individual, it is by no means unique in literary 


In no portion of the British kingdom are legends more 
rife, and superstitions more tenacious, than in the Isle of 
Man. Of the various romantic ruins which bedeck the 
island, and around which tradition has flung its ivy-like 
tendrils, none are more picturesque or more closely con- 
nected with mediaeval myths than Peele Castle. Among 
other marvellous stories told of the supernatural beings 
which haunt its precincts is the following, to be found 
in the pages of Waldron, whose account of the island 



is an inexhaustible mine of Manx legendary and folk 

" An apparition, which they call the Manthe Doog, in 
the shape of a shaggy spaniel, was stated to haunt the 
Castle in all parts, but particularly the guard-chamber, 
where the dog would constantly come and lie down hy the 
fire at candle-light. The soldiers lost much of their terror 
hy the frequency of the sight ; yet, as they believed it to be 
an evil spirit, waiting foi an opportunity to injure them, 
that belief kept them so far in order, that they refrained 
from swearing and discourse in its presence, and none 
chose to be left alone with such an insidious enemy. 
Now, as the Manthe Doog used to come out and returr- 
by the passage through the church, by which also some- 
body must go to deliver the keys every night to the 
Captain, they continued to go together, he whose turn 
it was to do that duty being accompanied by the next in 

"But one of the soldiers, on a certain night, being 
much disguised in liquor, would go with the key alone, 
though it really was not his turn. His comrades in vain 
endeavoured to dissuade him ; he said he wanted the 
Manthe Doog's company, and he would try whether he 
were dog or devil ; and then, after much profane talk, 
he snatched up the keys and departed. Some time 
afterwards a great noise alarmed the soldiers, but none 
of them would venture to go and see what was the cause. 
When the adventurer returned, he was struck with 
horror and speechless, nor could he even make such 
signs as might give them to understand what had 


happened to him, but he died, with distorted features, in 
violent agony. After this none would go through the 
passage, which was soon closed up, and the apparition 
was never more seen in the castle." 

"This accident happened about three-score years 
since," says Waldron, " and I heard it attested by 
several, but especially by an old soldier, who assured me 
he had seen it (i.e. the Manthe Doog), oftener than he 
had then hairs on his head." 


Amongst the innumerable multitude of buildings which 
have the reputation of being haunted, it will be noted 
that by far the larger number are haunted by strange 
noises and mysterious sounds only, but few of them 
really attaining to the dignity of being visited by 
visible beings. Some of the places, however, which 
have had the character of being disturbed by unusual 
and unaccountable noises are very interesting from the 
suggestiveness of these noises : in the following account, 
for instance, and indeed in many others, the ghostly 
but invisible visitants appear to be condemned to return 
to the occupations they followed before they shuffled off 
the mortal coil, and to resume, after their incorporeal 
fashion, the labours of their past life. 

The mother of the famous premier, George Canning, 


after the death of her first husband, became an actress, 
and married an actor. Becoming a widow for the 
second time, she married a third husband, named Hunn, 
and under his name appears to have acted in the pro- 
vinces. Among other provincial towns Mrs. Hunn 
visited Plymouth, but previous to her arrival there she 
had requested Mr. Bernard, who was in some way con- 
nected with the theatre there, to procure lodgings for 
her in the town. When Mrs. Hunn arrived, she was 
met by Mr. Bernard with the intimation that if she 
were not afraid of a ghost, he could obtain very com- 
fortable lodgings for her at a very low rate, " for there 
is," said he, " a house belonging to our carpenter that 
is reported to be haunted, and nobody will live in it. If 
you like to have it, you may, and for nothing, I believe, 
for he is so anxious to get a tenant ; only you must 
not let it be known that you do not pay any rent 
for it." 

Mrs. Hunn, alluding to theatrical apparitions, said 
it would not be the first time she had had to do with 
a ghost, and that she was very willing to encounter this 
one ; so she had her luggage taken into the house in 
question, and the bed prepared. At her usual hour, she 
sent her maid and her children to bed, and curious to 
see if there was any foundation for the rumour she had 
heard, she seated herself with a couple of candles and 
a book, to watch the event. Beneath the room she 
occupied was the carpenter's workshop, which had two 
doors ; the one which opened into the street was barred 
and bolted within; the other, a smaller one, opening into 



the passage, was only on the latch ; and the house was, 
of course, closed for the night. She had read somewhat 
more than half an hour, when she perceived a noise 
issuing from this lower apartment, which sounded very 
much like the sawing of wood ; presently, other such 
noises as usually proceed from a carpenter's workshop 
were added, till, by-and-bye, there was a regular concert 
of knocking and hammering, and sawing and planing, 
&c. ; the whole sounding like half a dozen busy men in 
full employment. Being a woman of considerable 
courage, Mrs. Hunn resolved, if possible, to penetrate 
the mystery ; so, taking off her shoes, that her approach 
might not be heard, with her candle in her hand, she 
very softly opened her door and descended the stairs, 
the noise continuing as loud as ever, and evidently pro* 
ceeding from the workshop, till she opened the door, 
when instantly all was silent all was still not a 
mouse was stirring ; and the tools and the wood, and 
everything else, lay as they had been left by the 
workmen when they went away. Having examined 
every part of the place, and satisfied herself that there 
was nobody there, and that nobody could get into it, 
Mrs. Hunn ascended to her room again, beginning 
almost to doubt her own senses, and question with her- 
self whether she had really heard the noise or not, when 
it re-commenced, and continued, without intermission, 
for about half an hour. She however went to bed, and 
the next day told nobody w 7 hat had occurred, having 
determined to watch another night before mentioning 
the affair to anyone. As, however, this strange scene 

<m> - /few 


1 <~ 


was acted over again, without her being able to dis- 
cover the cause of it, she now mentioned the circum- 
stance to the owner of the house and to her friend 
Mr. Bernard ; and the former, who would not believe it, 
agreed to watch with her, which he did. The noise 
began as before, and he was so horror-struck that, 
instead of entering the workshop as she wished him to 
do, he rushed into the street. Mrs. Hunn continued to 
inhabit the house the whole summer, and when referring 
afterwards to the adventure, she observed that use 
was second nature ; and that she was sure, if any night 
these ghostly carpenters had not pursued their visionary 
labours, she should have been quite frightened lest they 
should pay her a visit up- stairs. 


According to Camden this ancient stronghold was 
formerly called " Kasteth Koch," or Ked Castle, on 
account of the colour of the stone with which it was 
built. It stands on a rocky elevation in the midst of a 
well-wooded park, and despite the restoration which it 
has undergone at the hands of Sir Eobert Smirke is 
not considered " a thing of beauty." If the outside be 
irregular in style the interior is heavy and gloomy, and 
thoroughly appropriate for the localisation of ghostly 
legends. It possesses, among other interesting relics, 

3 * 


a state chamber, still maintained in the exact condition 
it was in when prepared for the reception of Charles I. 
Since the time of Queen Elizabeth, when the surround- 
ing estate was purchased by the Heberts, Powis Castle 
has been the seat of the Earls Powis. There are 
naturally various legends connected with this time- 
honoured dwelling, one being that the lake in the Castle 
park, from which the adjacent town of Welshpool takes 
its name, " shall sometime overflow and deluge the 
town." But there is also a well-authenticated and most 
circumstantial ghost story of Powis Castle, for the 
record of which we are indebted to the Autobiography of 
Thomas Wright, of Birkenshaw. 

In 1780, it became known to the townsfolk of Welsh- 
pool, that there was living amongst them a certain poor 
unmarried woman who had conversed with the Castle 
ghost, and that it had confided a great secret to her. 
The woman thus selected for this alleged trust was a 
member of the Methodist Society, and "had become 
serious under their ministry." Mr. John Hampson, a 
well-known preacher amongst the Wesleyan Methodists, 
being desirous of probing this strange story to the core, 
sent for the woman, and earnestly besought her to tell 
him the whole truth about the affair. She promised to 
give him as exact an account as she possibly could, and 
then proceeded with the following narration, to the 
correctness of which many persons could bear witness. 
She described herself as a poor woman who obtained a 
livelihood by spinning hemp and line, and stated that it 
was customary for the farmers and gentlemen of the 


district to grow enough hemp or line in their fields for 
their own home-consumption, and as she was a good 
hand at spinning, she was accustomed to go from house 
to house to inquire for work. It was the custom at 
houses where she stayed, to provide her with meat and 
drink, and if necessary with lodging, whilst she was 
thus employed, and when she left to make her some 
little present. 

One day she chanced to call at Earl Powis's country 
residence, Red Castle as it was called, to inquire for work, 
according to custom. The " quality," as she termed 
the family, were at this time in London, hut had, as 
usual, left the steward and his wife, with certain other 
servants, to take charge of the place during their 
absence. The steward's wife set her to work, and in 
the evening told her that she must stay all night with 
them, as they had more work for her to do next day. 
When it was time to go to bed, three of the servants, 
each carrying a lighted candle in her hand, conducted 
her to the room she was to sleep in. It was an apart- 
ment on the ground floor, with a boarded floor and two 
sash windows, and was grandly furnished, with a hand- 
some bedstead in one corner of it. They had made up 
a good fire for her, and had placed a chair and table 
before it, with a large lighted candle upon the table. 
They informed her that that was to be her bed-room, 
and that she might go to bed whenever she pleased. 
They then wished her a good night, and all withdrew 
together, pulling the door quickly after them, so as to 
hasp the spring-sneck in the brass lock that was upon it. 


When the servants had thus hastily departed, the 
poor spinster gazed around at the grand furniture, and 
was in no slight astonishment that they should put such 
a person as she was in so fine a room and so comfort- 
able a bed, with all the conveniences of fire, chair, table, 
and candle. After having made a survey of the place, 
she sat down, and took out of her pocket a small Welsh 
Bible which she always carried about with her, and in 
which she always read a chapter, chiefly in the New 
Testament, before she said her prayers and retired to rest. 

Whilst the woman was reading she heard the door 
opeu, and turning her head, was astonished to see a 
gentleman enter the room ; he wore a gold-laced hat 
and waistcoat, with coat and the rest of his attire to 
correspond. He walked down by the sash window to 
the corner of the room, and then returned. When 
he came, as he returned to the first window, the bot- 
tom of which was nearly breast high, he rested his 
elbow on the bottom of the window and the side of 
his face upon the palm of his hand, and stood in 
that leaning posture for some time, with his side 
partly towards her. She looked at him earnestly to 
see if she knew him, but although, from her frequent 
intercourse with them, she had a personal knowledge 
of all the family and its retainers, he appeared to be a 
perfect stranger to her. She supposed, afterwards, that 
he stood in this manner to eucourage her to speak ; 
but as she did not utter a word, after some little time he 
walked off, pulling the door to after him as the servants 
had done previously. She began now to be much 


alarmed, concluding it to be an apparition, and that 
they had put her in that grand room because it was 
haunted. And that was reallv the case. 

For some long time past the room had been so dis- 
turbed that nobody could sleep in it peaceably, and as 
she passed for a very serious woman, the servants con- 
ceived the fine project of putting the poor Methodist 
and the spirit together, in order to see what the result 
would be. 

Startled at the thought that it was an apparition she 
had seen, the woman rose from her chair, and kneeling 
down by the bedside, began saying her prayers. Whilst 
she was praying the apparition came in again, walked 
round the room, and came close behind her. She now 
endeavoured to speak, but when she attempted it she 
was so agitated that she could not utter a word. The 
apparition walked out of the room again, pulling the 
door after it as it had done before. She begged that God 
would strengthen her, and not suffer her to be tried 
bevond what she was able to bear ; she now recovered 
her spirits somewhat, and thought she felt more con- 
fidence and resolution, and determined if it came in 
again she would speak to it if possible. Presently it 
came in again, walked round the room, and came behind 
her as before. She turned her head and said, 

" Pray, Sir, who are you, and what do you want ? " 

It lifted its finger, and said, 

"Take up the candle and follow me, and I will tell 

She got up, took up the candle, and followed it out 


of the room. It led her through a long boarded pas- 
sage till they got to the door of another room, which 
it opened and went into. It was a very small room, or 
what might be called a large closet. 

" As the room was small, and I believed him to be a 
spirit," said she, in her recital of the affair, " I stopped 
at the door ; he turned and said, 

" Walk in ; I will not hurt you/ 

" So I walked in. Then he said, 

" * Observe what I do.' 

" I said, < I will/ 

" He stooped and tore up one of the boards of the 
floor, and there appeared under it a box with an iron 
handle in the lid. He said, 

" * Do you see that box V 

" I said, ' Yes, I do.' 

" He then stepped to one side of the room, and 
showed me a crevice in the wall, where he said a key 
was hid that would open it. He said, > 

" ' This box and key must be taken out and sent to 
the Earl in London ' ; naming the Earl and his place of 
residence in the metropolis. He said, 

" ' Will you see it done ? ' 

" I said, * I will do my best to get it done.' 

" He said, ' Do, and I will trouble the house no 

more.' " 

It then walked out of the room and left her. As 
soon as the woman saw that the apparition had de- 
parted, she went to the room-door and set up a loud 
shout. The steward and his wife, together with all the 


other servants, ran to her immediately ; they were all 
clinging to one another and carrying lights. It seems 
that they had all been waiting to see the issue of the 
interview between the woman and the apparition. They 
asked her what was the matter. She then told them 
all that had taken place, and showed them the box. 
The steward dare not meddle with it, but his wife was 
of a more courageous temperament, and with the assist- 
ance of the other servants, tugged it out, and found the 
key in the place indicated by the apparition. The 
woman stated that, by the way in which they lifted it, 
it appeared to be pretty heavy, but that she did not see 
it opened, and, therefore, did not know what it con- 
tained ; whether money or writings of importance to the 
family, or both. The servants took it away with them, 
and the woman averred that she then went to bed and 
slept peaceably till the morning. 

It appeared, from what was subsequently learnt, that 
the box and its contents were sent to the Earl in Lon- 
don, together with an account of how it was discovered 
and by whom. The Earl immediately sent down orders 
to his steward to inform the poor woman, who had been 
the means of the discovery, that if she would come and 
reside in his family she should be comfortably provided 
for for the remainder of her days ; or, if she did not 
care to reside constantly with them, if she would let 
him know when she wanted assistance, she should be 
liberally supplied at his lordship's expense as long as 
she lived. 

And according to the account related by Mr. John 


Hampson, it was a fact well known in the neighbour- 
hood that the woman had been supplied from the Earl's 
family ever since the time when the affair was said to 
have happened. 


Kainham, the seat of the Marquis Townshend, in Nor- 
folk, has long been noted for its ghost known as " the 
Brown Lady." Mrs. Crowe, and many other writers on 
apparitions and kindred themes, have alluded to the 
circumstance of this family residence being haunted by 
a spectral woman, but their references are very slight 
and the particulars they give exceedingly meagre. Mrs. 
Crowe, indeed, mentions that many persons have seen 
" the Brown Lady," and speaks of a guest who one day 
inquired of his host, " Who was the lady in brown that 
he had met frequently on the stairs ? ' But the most 
circumstantial account of the appearance of this appari- 
tion would appear to be that given by Lucia C. Stone, 
in Rifts in the Veil. This record she states she re- 
ceived from an eye-witness, and as a proof of its 
authenticity draws attention to the fact that the names 
of all parties concerned are given in full. The time of 
the incidents, however, cannot be given any nearer than 
between 1835 and 1849. 

According to this narrative a large party had assem- 


bled at Rainham, in order to pass the Christmas there. 
Lord and Lady Charles Townshend were the host and 
hostess on this occasion, and among the assembled 
guests were Colonel and Mrs. Loftus, and Miss Page, a 
cousin of the latter. Colonel Loftus was a brother of 
Lady Charles and cousin to Lord Charles, being a 
Townshend on his mother's side. 

There was a tradition in the Townshend family that 
at certain intervals the apparition of a lady attired in 
brown brocade had been seen flitting about the build- 
ing ; but nothing had occurred for some long time past, 
and the old stories respecting the hauntings had been 
well-nigh forgotten. 

One night Colonel Loftus and a gentleman named 
Hawkins sat up rather late over a game of chess ; they 
went up-stairs, and were bidding each other " good- 
night," when Mr. Hawkins exclaimed, " Loftus, who is 
that standing at your sister's door? How strangely 
she is dressed." Colonel Loftus, who was near-sighted, 
put up his glass and followed the figure, which went on 
for some little distance, when he lost sight of it. A 
second night she appeared to him, and this time, to 
prevent her escape, he went up a staircase which would 
bring him face to face with her. There, in a full light, 
stood a stately lady in her rich brocade, a sort of coif 
on her head, the features clearly defined ; but where 
there should have been eyes were nothing but dark 

"These were the two appearances he described to 
me," says Lucia Stone, (e and he sketched her after- 


wards. I saw the sketch just after his return from 
Rainham. The lady was seen hy several others, and I 
have heard the stories, but not from their own lips, so 
I forbear to give them ; but perhaps I should mention 
that the cousin of Mrs. Loftus, Miss Page, whom I 
knew very intimately, asked Lord Charles if he too 
believed in the apparition ? He replied, ' I cannot but 
believe, for she ushered me into my room last night.' 

The servants were frightened, and one after the other 
gave warning. Lord Charles Townshend, thinking that, 
perhaps, after all, it might be a trick on the part of 
someone in the house, had various alterations made in 
the way of bolts, locks, and so forth. This proving 
useless, he engaged some of the London police force to 
come down, and made them assume his livery ; but they 
were unable to discover anything during their stay at 

There does not seem to be any known legend con- 
nected with the appearance of the apparition of "the 
Brown Lady." 


When the complicated developments of the tale con- 
nected with this Kentish Manor-house are known, it 
must be acknowledged that the affair is one of the most 
mysterious on record. Robert Dale Owen, from whose 


singular work, Footfalls on the Boundary of Another 
World, this strange story is extracted, does not furnish 
the actual names of the ladies from whom he derived 
his information about the haunting of Ramhurst, but 
veils their identity under initials ; and as we have no 
other authority for the account than his, it will be 
necessary, in this instance to follow his example. 

Ramhurst Manor-house, it must be premised, is an 
ancient residence near Leigh, in Kent. In October 
1857, and for several subsequent months, it was occu- 
pied by Mrs. R , the wife of an English officer of 

high rank, and her servants. From the time this ladv 
first occupied the place she, and every inmate, were 
disturbed by knockings, unaccountable voices, and the 
sounds of mysterious footsteps. The strange voices 
were generally, but not invariably, heard proceeding 
from an unoccupied room, and were sometimes as of 
someone talking in a loud tone, sometimes as if some 
person were reading aloud, and occasionally as if 
screaming. The servants were, as may be imagined, 
in a great state of terror, and although they did not 

see anything, the cook one day informed Mrs. R 

that in broad day she heard the rustle of a silk- dress 
close behind her, and which seemed to touch her ; but 
on turning suddenly round, thinking it was her mis- 
tress, she could not see anyone, much to her surprise 

and horror. Mrs. R 's brother, a young officer 

addicted to field sports, and quite incredulous on the 
subject of ghostly visitations, was much disturbed and 
annoyed by these strange voices, which he asserted must 


be those of his sister and a lady friend of hers sitting 
up chatting at night. Twice, when a voice which he 
considered to resemble his sister's rose to a scream, he 
rushed into her bed-room, between two and three o'clock 
in the morning, with a gun in his hand, but only to find 
her sleeping quietly. 

" On the second Saturday in the above month of 

October," says our authority, " Mrs. R drove over 

to the railway station at Tunbridge, to meet her friend 

Miss S , whom she had invited to spend some 

weeks with her. This young lady had been in the 
habit of seeing apparitions, at times, from early child- 

" When, on their return, at about four o'clock in the 
afternoon, they drove up to the entrance of the Manor- 
house, Miss S perceived on the threshold the 

appearance of two figures, apparently an elderly couple, 
habited in the costume of a former age. They appeared 
as if standing on the ground. She did not hear any 
voice, and not wishing to render her friend uneasy, she 
made at that time no remark to her in connection with 
this apparition. 

" She saw the appearance of the same figures, in the 
same dress, several times within the next ten days, 
sometimes in one of the rooms of the house, sometimes 
in one of the passages always by daylight. They 
appeared to her surrounded by an atmosphere nearly 
of the colour usually called ' neutral tint.' On the third 
occasion they spoke to her, and stated that they had 
been husband and wife, that in the former days they 


had possessed and occupied that Manor-house, and that 
their name was Children. They appeared sad and down- 
cast, and, when Miss S inquired the cause of their 

melancholy, they replied that they had idolized this 
property of theirs ; that their pride and pleasure had 
centred in its possession ; that its improvement had 
engrossed their thoughts; and it troubled them to know 
that it had passed away from their family, and to see 
it now in the hands of careless strangers." 

To Miss S , the ghost-seer, the voices of the 

apparitions were not only perfectly audible, but also 
intelligible ; but it does not appear certain, so far as 
our record goes, that others who heard the conversing 
were enabled to comprehend what was said by the 
spirits. Meanwhile, Mrs. R , thinking that some- 
thing unusual had occurred to her friend in connection 
with the household disturbances, questioned her on the 

subject, and was then informed by Miss S of what 

she had seen and heard from the apparitions. Hitherto 

Mrs. R , though her rest had been disturbed by 

the frequent noises, had not seen anything, nor, indeed, 

had anyone save Miss S ; but about a month after 

the latter lady had had the interview with the spectres 
styling themselves Mr. and Mrs. Children, they made 
another optical manifestation. 

One day, Mrs. R , who had ceased to expect the 

appearance of the apparitions to herself, was hurriedly 
dressing for dinner, " her brother," to cite from Owen, 
" who had just returned from a day's shooting, having 
called to her in impatient tones that dinner was served 


and that he was quite famished. At the moment of 
completing her toilet, and as she hastily turned to leave 
her bed-chamber, not dreaming of anything spiritual, 
there in the doorway stood the same female figure 

Miss S had described, identical in appearance and 

in costume, even to the old point-lace on her brocaded silk 
dress, while beside her on the left, but less distinctly 
visible, was the figure of her husband. They uttered 
no sound ; but above the figure of the lady, as if written 
in phosphoric light in the dusk atmosphere that sur- 
rounded her, were the words ' Dame Children* together 
with some other words, intimating that, having never 
aspired beyond the joys and sorrows of this world, she 
had remained * earth-bound.' 

" These last words Mrs. E scarcely paused to 

decipher ; for a renewed appeal from her brother, as 
to whether they were to have any dinner that day, 
urged her forward. The figure, filling up the doorway, 
remained stationary. There was no time for hesitation, 
she closed her eyes, rushed through the apparition and 
into the dining-room, throwing up her hands and ex- 
claiming to Miss S , * Oh ! my dear, I 've walked 

through Mrs. Children ! ' " 

This was the only time Mrs. R saw anything of 

the apparitions during her residence in the old Manor- 
house, nor do they seem to have appeared again to 

anyone there, save Miss S . Mrs. R had her 

bedroom not only lit up by a blazing fire, but also 
by candles, whilst a lighted lamp was kept burning 
in the corridor. Miss S , however, appears to have 


been honoured with subsequent interviews by the appa- 
ritions, and from her conversations with them learnt 
that the husband's name was Richard, and that he had 
died in 1753. She remarked that the costumes in 
which they appeared " were of the period of Queen 
Anne or one of the early Georges, she could not be 
sure which, as the fashions in both were similar." 

Deeply impressed with the mystery that appertained 

to the old Manor-house, Mr. R endeavoured to 

elucidate it by making inquiries among the servants 
and in the neighbourhood, but without success. No one 
knew that the house had ever been owned or inhabited 
by persons of the name of " Children," although a nurse 

in the family, Sophy -, had spent all her life in the 

vicinity. About four months afterwards, and when her 
mistress had given up all hopes of unravelling the 
mystery, Sophy went home for a holiday to her father's 
at Riverhead, near Sevenoaks. During her visit she 
called on a sister-in-law, an old woman of seventy, who 
fifty years previous had been housemaid in a family 
residing in Ramhurst Manor-house. Sophy asked her 
old sister-in-law if she had ever heard of a family 
named Children living at the Manor, and was informed 
that there was no such familv there in her time, but 
she recollected having been informed by an old man, 
that in his boyhood he had assisted to keep the hounds 
of the Childrens who were then residing at Ramhurst. 
On her return Sophy communicated this information to 

Mrs. R , who thus learnt that a family named 

Children had once really occupied the Manor-house, 




but beyond that she was unable to learn anything about 

In December 1858, Robert Dale Owen, being in the 

company of the two ladies referred to, Mrs. E and 

Miss S , learnt all the particulars of the haunting 

and the apparitions already given. Having accepted 
an invitation to spend Christmas week with some friends 
living near Sevenoaks, he determined to prosecute 
further inquiries about the haunted Manor, and its 
former inhabitants in the neighbourhood. He sought 
out Sophy and questioned her closely about the 

disturbances at the Manor-house during Mrs. R -'s 

residence, but was enabled to elicit little more than 
confirmatory evidence of what the reader knows already. 
Nor did his inspection of the churches and graveyards 
of Leigh and Tunbridge afford him any fresh informa- 
tion about the Children family, save that a certain 
George Children left, in the year 1718, a weekly gift 
of bread to the poor, and that another George Children, 
his descendant, who had died about forty years pre- 
vious, and who had not resided at Ramhurst, had a 
marble tablet in Tunbridge Church erected to his 

Thus far Mr. Owen had not obtained any further 
particulars of much value, but having been referred to 
a neighbouring clergyman, by him he was lent a docu- 
ment that contained the following extract from the 
Hasted Papers, which are preserved in the British 
Museum, and may be consulted there : 

" George Children . . . who was High Sheriff of 


Kent in 1698, died without issue in 1718, and by will 
devised the bulk of his estate to Eichard Children, 
eldest son of his late uncle, William Children, of Hed- 
corn, and his heirs. This Eichard Children, who settled 
himself at Ramhurst, in the Parish of Leigh, married 
Anne, daughter of John Saxby, in the parish of Leeds, 
by whom he had issue four sons and two daughters/'' 

Thus Mr. Owen had ascertained that the first of the 
Children family who had occupied Kamhurst as a 
residence was named Eichard, and that he settled there 
in the early part of George I.'s reign, but he was still 
ignorant of the date of his death, which, it will have 
been noted, was given by the apparition as 1753. Being 
referred by an antiquarian friend to Hasted's History of 
Kent, published in 1778, he fo md the following para- 
graph : 

" In the eastern part of the parish of Lyghe (now 
Leigh), near the river Medway, stands an ancient man- 
sion, called Eamhurst, once reputed a manor, and held 
of the honour of Gloucester. ... It continued in the 
Culpepper family for several generations. ... It passed 
by sale into that of Saxby, and Mr. William Saxby 
conveyed it by sale to Children. Eichard Children, 
Esq., resided here, and died possessed of it in 1753, 
aged eighty-three years. He was succeeded in it by 
his eldest son, John Children, of Tunbridge, Esq.," &c. 

" Thus I verified," remarks Eobert Dale Owen, " the 
last remaining particular, the date of Eichard Children s 
death. It appears from the above, also, that Eichard 

14 * 


Children was the only representative of the family who 
lived and died at Eamhurst ; his son John being de- 
signated not as of Eamhurst, hut as of Tunhridge. 
From the private memoir above referred to, I had pre- 
viously ascertained that the family seat after Eichard's 
time was Ferox Hall, near Tunbridge. 

"It remains to be added that in 1816, in consequence 
of events reflecting no discredit on the family, they 
lost all their property, and were compelled to sell Earn' 
hurst, which has since been occupied, though a some- 
what spacious mansion, not as a family residence, but 
as a farm-house. I visited it, and the occupants as- 
sured me that nothing worse than rats or mice disturb 
it now." 


Baxter's Certainty of the World of Spirits contains 
one of the most marvellous and, apparently, best 
authenticated stories of modern miracles extant. If it 
be accepted as fact it will be a difficult matter to doubt 
any supernatural incident merely on account of its inex 
plicability. The story was sent to Baxter by the Eev. 
Thomas Tilson, the minister of Aylesford, near Maid- 
stone, in Kent, within five weeks of the event to which 
it referred happening ; the narrator was on the spot, 
and therefore had every opportunity of disproving or 
confirming the statements made ; whilst the names and 
residences of the witnesses are given, together with the 


exact time and place of the occurrences to which they 
testify. It would be difficult to adduce any historic 
event with, apparently, better testimony of its accuracy. 
Mr. Tilson's story, as written out for Baxter, is this : 

" Mary, the wife of John Goffe, of Rochester, being 
afflicted with a long illness, removed to her father's 
house at West Mailing, which is about nine miles dis- 
tant from her own. There she died June the 4th, this 
present year, 1691. 

" The day before her departure she grew very im- 
patiently desirous to see her two children, whom she 
had left at home to the care of a nurse. She prayed 
her husband to hire a horse, for she must go home and 
die with the children. When they persuaded her to the 
contrary, telling her she was not fit to be taken out of 
her bed, nor able to sit on horseback, she entreated 
them, however, to try. ' If I cannot sit,' said she, 'I 
will lie all along upon the horse ; for I must go to see 
my poor babes.' 

" A minister who lived in the town was with her at 
ten o'clock that night, to whom she expressed good 
hopes in the mercies of God, and a willingness to die. 
* But,' said she, 'it is my misery that I cannot see my 
children.' Between one and two o'clock in the morning 
she fell into a trance. One, widow Turner, who watched 
with her that night, says that her eyes were open and 
fixed and her jaw fallen. She put her hand upon her 
mouth and nostrils, but could perceive no breath. She 
thought her to be in a fit, and doubted whether she 
were dead or alive. 


ff The next morning this dying woman told her 
mother that she had been at home with her children. 
* That is impossible,' said the mother, ' for you have 
been in bed all the while.' ' Yes,' replied the other, 
' but I was with them last night when I was asleep.' 

" The nurse at Rochester, widow Alexander by name, 
affirms, and says she will take her oath on't before a 
magistrate, and take the sacrament upon it, that a little 
while before two o'clock that morning she saw the 
likeness of the said Mary Goffe come out of the next 
chamber (where the elder child lay in a bed by itself), 
the door being left open, and stood by her bedside for 
about a quarter of an hour; the younger child was 
there lying by her. Her eyes moved and her mouth 
went, but she said nothing. The nurse, moreover, says 
that she was perfectly awake ; it was then daylight, 
being one of the longest days in the year. She sat up 
in her bed and looked steadfastly upon the apparition. 
In that time she heard the bridge clock strike two, and 
a while after said, ' In the name of the Father, who 
art thou.' Thereupon the appearance removed and 
went away. She slipped on her clothes and followed, 
but what became on't she cannot tell. Then, and not 
before, she began to be grievously affrighted, and went 
out of doors and walked upon the wharf (the house is 
just on the river-side) for some hours, only going in 
now and then to look to the children. At five o'clock 
she went to a neighbour's house and knocked at the 
door, but they would not rise. At six she went again ; 
then they rose and let her in. She related to them all 


that had passed ; they would persuade her she was mis- 
taken or dreamt. But she confidently affirmed, * If 
ever I saw her in all my life, I saw her this night.' 

" One of those to whom she made the relation (Mary 
the wife of John Sweet), had a messenger come from 
Mailing that forenoon, to let her know her neighbour 
Goffe was dying and desired to speak with her. She 
went over the same day, and found her just departing. 
The mother, among other discourse, related to her how 
much her daughter had longed to see the children, and 
said she had seen them. This brought to Mrs. Sweet's 
mind what the nurse had told her that morning; for 
till then she had not thought to mention it, but dis- 
guised it, rather, as the woman's disturbed imagination. 

" The substance of this I had related to me/' savs 

' ml 

Mr. Tilson, "by John Carpenter, the father of the 
deceased, the next day after her burial, July the 2nd. 
I fully discoursed the matter with the nurse and two 
neighbours, to whose house she went that morning. 
Two days after, I had it from the mother, the minister 
that was with her in the evening, and the woman who 
sat up with her that last night. They all agree in the 
same story, and everyone helps to strengthen the other's 
testimony. They appear to be sober, intelligent persons, 
far enough off from designing to impose a cheat upon 
the world, or to manage a lie; and what temptation they 
could lie under for so doing I cannot conceive." 
And thus ends this incomprehensible affair. 



To mention many of the curious supernatural legends 
connected with the Castle of Rushen, in Castletown, 
Isle of Man, might only excite ridicule, and yet belief 
in the wildest of them still lingers in the vicinity. 
Among other terrifying apparitions which still, or until 
very recently did haunt this ancient stronghold is that 
of a woman who, some years ago, was executed for the 
murder of her child. The quantity and quality of the 
testimony adduced in corroboration of the appearance 
of this spectre is absolutely startling, many persons of 
good position and acknowledged veracity giving con- 
firmatory evidence. Their united testimony is to the 
effect that an apparition of the executed woman fre- 
quently passes in and out of the castle gates when they 
are shut, in the presence of the sentinels and other 
spectators. Indeed, it is alleged that the sight of this 
phantom has become quite familiar to them ; but no 
one has yet had the courage to speak to it, therefore it 
has not been enabled to unfold the object of its ap- 

In his quaint Description of the island, Waldron gives 
the following curious tradition as connected with the 
venerable Manx Castle, in which, he states, there is an 
apartment that has never been opened in the memory 
of man. The persons belonging to the castle are very 
cautious in giving any reason for it, it is alleged, but 

mm i 


the natives unconnected with the castle aver that there 
is something supernatural in it, and tell you that for- 
merly the place was inhabited by giants, who were 
dislodged by Merlin, and such as were not driven away 
are spell-bound beneath the castle. In proof of this 
they relate a very strange story which is told by Waldron 
in these terms : 

" They say there are a great many fine apartments 
under ground, exceeding in magnificence any of the 
upper rooms. Several men of more than ordinary 
courage have, in former times, ventured down to explore 
the secrets of this subterranean dwelling-place, but none 
of them ever returned to give an account of what they 
saw. It was, therefore, judged expedient that all the 
passages to it should be continually shut, that no more 
might suffer by their temerity. About some fifty or 
fifty-five years since a person possessed of uncommon 
boldness and resolution begged permission to visit these 
dark abodes. He at length obtained his request, went 
down, and returned by the help of a clue of pack-thread 
which he took with him, which no man before had ever 
done, and brought this amazing discovery : That after 
he had passed through a great number of vaults, he 
came into a long narrow place, which, the further he 
penetrated, he perceived that he went more and more 
on a descent, till having travelled, as near as he could 
guess, for the space of a mile, he began to see a gleam 
of light which, though it seemed to come from a vast 
distance, was the most delightful object he ever beheld. 
Having at length arrived at the end of that lane of 


darkness, he perceived a large and magnificent house, 
illuminated with many candles, whence proceeded the 
light he had seen. Having, before he began the expe- 
dition, well fortified himself with brandy, he had courage 
enough to knock at the door, which, on the third knock, 
was opened by a servant, who asked him what he wanted. 
'I would go as far as I can,' replied our adventurer ; 
' be so kind, therefore, as to direct me how to accom- 
plish my design, for I see no passage but that dark 
cavern through which I came.' The servant told him 
he must go through that house, and accordingly led 
him through a long entry and out at a back door. He 
then walked a considerable way, till he beheld another 
house more magnificent than the first, and, all the 
windows being open, he discovered innumerable lamps 
burning in everv room. 

" Here also he designed to knock, but had the curi- 
osity to step on a little bank which commanded a view 
of a low parlour, and looking in, he beheld a vast table 
in the middle of the room, and on it, extended at full 
length, a man, or rather monster, at least fourteen feet 
long, and ten or twelve round the body. This pro- 
digious fabric lay as if sleeping, with his head upon a 
book, with a sword by him, answerable to the hand 
which he supposed made use of it. The sight was 
more terrifying to our traveller than all the dark and 
dreary mansions through which he had passed. He 
resolved, therefore, not to attempt an entrance into a 
place inhabited by persons of such monstrous stature, 
and made the best of his way back to the other house, 


when the same servant who reconducted him informed 
him that if he had knocked at the second door he would 
have seen company enough, but could never have re- 
turned, on which he desired to know what place it was, 
and by whom possessed. The other replied that these 
things were not to be revealed. He then took his leave, 
and by the same dark passage got into the vaults, and 
soon afterwards once more ascended to the light of the 


Such is the marvellous legend told by the historian 
of Manxland, and he adds to it the statement that 
" whoever seems to disbelieve it is looked on as a person 
of weak faith," by the islanders, of course. 


In that most curious collection of stories by Mrs. 
Crowe, styled The Night Side of Nature, is recounted a 
marvellous narrative, received from a professional gen- 
tleman resident in London ; his relation is to this 
effect : 

" I was, some few years since, invited to pass a day 
and night at the house of a friend in Hertfordshire, with 
whom I was intimately acquainted. His name was 

B , and he had formerly been in business as a 

saddler, in Oxford Street, where he had realised a hand- 


some fortune, and had now retired to enjoy his otium 
cum dignitate in the rural and beautiful village of 

" It was a gloomy Sunday, in the month of November, 
when I mounted my horse for the journey, and there 
was so much appearance of rain, that I should certainly 
have selected some other mode of conveyance had I 

not been desirous of leaving the animal in Mr. B 's 

straw-yard for the winter. Before I got as far as 
St. John's Wood, the threatening clouds broke, and by 
the time I reached Watford I was completely soaked. 
However, I proceeded, and arrived at Sarratt before my 
friend and his wife had returned from church. The 
moment they did so, they furnished me with dry clothes, 
and I was informed that we were to dine at the house of 

Mr. D , a very agreeable neighbour. I felt some 

little hesitation about presenting myself in such a cos- 
tume, for I was decked out in a full suit of Mr. B r s, 

who was a stout man, of six feet in height, whilst I am 
rather of the diminutive order; but my objections were 
over-ruled ; we went, and my appearance added not a 
little to the hilarity of the party. At ten o'clock we 

separated, and I returned with Mr. and Mrs. B to 

their house, where I was shortly afterwards conducted to 
a very comfort %r * bed-room. 

" Fatigued with my day's ride, I was soon in bed, and 
soon asleep ; but I do not think I could have slept long 
before I was awakened by the violent barking of dogs. 
I found that the noise had disturbed others as well as 
myself, for J heard Mr. B , who was lodged in the 


adjoining room, open his window and call to them to be 
quiet. They were obedient to his voice, and as soon as 
quietness ensued, I dropped asleep again ; but I was 
again awakened by an extraordinary pressure upon my 
feet ; that I was perfectly awake I declare ; the light 
that stood in the chimney-corner shone strongly across 
the foot of the bed, and I saw the figure of a well-dressed 
man in the act of stooping, and supporting himself in so 
doing by the bed-clothes. He had on a blue coat, with 
bright gilt buttons, but I saw no head ; the curtains at 
the foot of the bed, which were partly looped back, just 
hung so as to conceal that part of his person. At first, 
I thought it was my host, and as I had dropped my 
clothes, as is my habit, on the floor, at the foot of the 
bed, I supposed he was come to look after them, which 
rather surprised me ; but just as I had raised myself 
upright in bed, and was about to inquire into the occa- 
sion of his visit, the figure passed on. I then recollected 
that I had locked the door ; and becoming somewhat 
puzzled, I jumped out of bed; but I could see nobody; 
and on examining the room, I found no means of ingress 
but the door through which I had entered, and one other; 
both of which were locked on the inside. Amazed and 
puzzled, I got into bed again, and sat some time 
ruminating on the extraordinary circumstance, when it 
occurred to me that I had not looked under the bed. 
So I got out again, fully expecting to find my visitor, 
whoever he was, there ; but I was disappointed. So 
after looking at my watch, and ascertaining that it was 
ten minutes past two, 1 stepped into bed again, hoping 


now to get some rest. But alas ! sleep was banished for 
that night ; and after turning from side to side, and 
making vain endeavours at forgetfulness, I gave up the 
point, and lay till the clock struck seven, perplexing my 
brain with the question of who my midnight visitor 
could be ; and also how he had got in and how he had 
got out of my room. About eight o'clock, I met my 
host and his wife at the breakfast-table, when, in answer 
to their hospitable inquiries of how I had passed the 
night, I mentioned, first, that I had been awaked by the 

barking of some dogs, and that I had heard Mr. B 

open his window and call to them. He answered that 
two strange dogs had got into the yard and had disturbed 
the others. I then mentioned my midnight visitor, ex- 
pecting that they would either explain the circumstance, 
or else laugh at me and declare I must have dreamt it. 
But, to my surprise, my story was listened to with grave 
attention ; and they related to me the tradition with 
which this spectre, for such I found they deemed it to 
be, was supposed to be connected. This was to the 
effect, that many years ago a gentleman so attired, had 
been murdered there, under some frightful circumstances ; 
and that hi3 head had been cut off. On perceiving that 
I was very unwilling to accept this explanation of the 
mystery for I had always been an entire disbeliever in 
supernatural appearances they begged me to prolong 
my visit for a day or two, when they would introduce me 
to the rector of the parish, who could furnish me with 
such evidence with regard to circumstances of a similar 
nature, as would leave no doubt on my mind as to the 


possibility of their occurrence. But I had made an en- 
gagement to dine at Watford, on my way back ; and I 
confess, moreover, that after what I had heard, I did not 
feel disposed to encounter the chance of another visit 
from the mysterious stranger; so I declined the proffered 
hospitality, and took my leave. 

" Some time after this, I happened to be dining in 

C Street, in company with some ladies resident in 

the same county, when, chancing to allude to my visit to 
Sarratt, I added that 1 had met with a very extraordinary 
adventure there, which I had never been able to account 
for; when one of these ladies immediately said, that she 
hoped I had not had a visit from the headless gentle- 
man, in a blue coat and gilt buttons, who was said to 
have been seen by many people in that house. 

" Such is the conclusion of this marvellous tale as 
regards myself; and I can only assure you that I have 
related facts as they occurred ; and that I had never 
heard a word about this apparition in my life, till 

Mr. B related to me the tradition above alluded to. 

Still, as I am no believer in supernatural appearances, I 
am constrained to suppose that the whole affair was the 
product of my imagination." 



Ir seems impossible to explain away the well vouched- 
for facts of the following marvellous historic incident 
by any theory of coincidence. The points of identity 
between the tragedy enacted afar off and the dreams in 
Cornwall are so many, that the Calculus of Probabilities 
would scarcely include their agreement within the rules 
of the Possible. And if not by coincidence, by what 
law can the mystery be analysed ? It is not our task, 
however, to attempt to solve the problem, but to tell 
the story, basing our narrative upon the account which 
was given in the Times newspaper of August 16th, 1868. 
It was on the night of the 11th of May 1812, accord- 
ing to the version of the story told by the Times during 
the life-time of Mr. Williams, that that gentleman, then 
residing at Scorrier House, near Kedruth, in Cornwall, 
awoke his wife, and in great agitation informed her that 
he had dreamed he was in the lobby of the House of 
Commons, and had seen a man shoot with a pistol a 
gentleman who had just entered the lobby, and who 
was said to be the Chancellor. Mrs. Williams verv 
naturally replied that it was only a dream and endea- 
voured to calm her husband by recommending him to 
go to sleep again. He did fall asleep again, but shortly 
afterwards awoke his wife and told her that he had had 
the same dream a second time. Upon this, Mrs. Wil- 
liams suggested that he had been so disturbed by his 



former dream that it bad probably dwelt on his mind, 
and, therefore, begged him to try and compose himself 
and go to sleep, which he did. Once more, for the 
third time, the vision was repeated ; whereupon, not- 
withstanding his wife's entreaties that he would be quiet, 
and trv to forsret the affair, Mr. Williams arose and 
dressed himself, it then being between one and two 
o'clock in the morning. 

At breakfast Mr. Williams's sole subject of conversa- 
tion was the vivid dreams by which his night's rest had 
been disturbed. In the afternoon he had occasion to 
go to Falmouth, where he gave every acquaintance he 
met particulars of his strange visions. 

The following day Mr. Tucker, of Trematon Castle 
accompanied by his wife, a daughter of Mr. Williams, 
visited at Scorrier House. No sooner were the family 
greetings over than Mr. Williams related his wonderful 
dream to the new arrivals ; as Mrs. Williams laughingly 
remarked to her daughter, her father would not even 
allow Mr. Tucker to be seated before he told him of his 
nocturnal visitation. Upon hearing his father-in-law's 
statement, Mr. Tucker observed that it might do very 
well in a dream to have the Chancellor in the lobby of 
the House of Commons, but that he would Ljver be 
found there in reality. 

Subsequently, Mr. Tucker inquired what sort of a 
man the person shot appeared to be ; and when Mr. 
Williams described him with great minuteness, he re- 
marked, "Your description is not at all that of the 
Chancellor, but is certainly exactly that of Mr. Perceval, 



the Chancellor of the Exchequer ; and, although he has 
been to me the greatest enemy I ever met with, for a 
supposed cause which had no foundation in truth " (or 
words to that effect), " I should be exceedingly sorry, 
indeed, to hear of his being assassinated, or of any 
injury of the kind happening to him." Mr. Tucker 
then asked Mr. Williams if he had ever seen Mr. Per- 
ceval, and was told that he never had seen him, nor had 
ever even written to him, either on public or private 
matters ; in short, that he had never had anything to 
do with him, nor had he ever been in the lobby of the 
House of Commons in his life. 

In the midst of this conversation, and whilst the two 
gentlemen were still standing, they heard a horse gallop 
up to the door of the house, and immediately afterwards 
Mr. Michael Williams, of Treviner, son of Mr. Williams, 
of S comer, entered the room, and said that he had 
galloped out from Truro, a distance of seven miles, 
having seen a gentleman there who had come by that 
evening's mail from London, who said that he was in 
the lobby of the House of Commons on the evening of 
the 11th, when a man called JBellingham had shot Mr. 
Perceval, the Chancellor of the Exchequer ; and that, 
as it might occasion some great ministerial changes, 
and might affect Mr. Tucker's political friends, he had 
come out as fast as he could to make him acquainted 
with it, having heard at Truro that he had passed 
through that place in the afternoon on his way to 
Scorrier House. 

After the astonishment which this unexpected fulfil- 


ment of the dream caused had a little subsided, Mr. 
Williams most particularly described the appearance and 
dress of the man whom he beheld in his dreams fire the 
pistol, as he had previously described Mr. Perceval. 

Some six weeks after the fatal affair, Mr. Williams, 
having business in London, availed himself of the op- 
portunity to go, accompanied by a friend, to the House 
of Commons, where, as has already been stated, he had 
never been before. As soon as he came to the steps at 
the entrance of the lobby, he stopped and said, " This 
plaoe is as distinctly within my recollection in my dream 
as any room in my house " ; and he repeated the obser- 
vation when he entered the lobby. He then pointed 
out the exact spot where Bellingham stood when he 
fired, and which Mr. Perceval had reached when he was 
struck by the ball, and where and how he fell. The 
dress and appearance of both Mr. Perceval and his 
assassin, Bellingham, are declared to have agreed 
exactly, even to the most minute particular, with the 
descriptions given by Mr. Williams. 

The Times, when furnishing its readers with this 
wonderful story, drew attention to the fact that Mr. 
Williams was still alive, and would, therefore, have 
denied any inaccuracy in their account, whilst many of 
the witnesses to whom he had made known the particu- 
lar of his dreams directly after he had had them were 
also living. Moreover, added the editor, he had received 
the whole statement from a correspondent of unquestion- 
able veracity. 

15 * 



In April, 1876, the following very curious account of 
an apparition that was seen by three children at once 
was communicated to the Psychological Society by Mr. 
Hensleigh Wedgwood. The documentary story, written 
by Mrs. S. H. Fox, of Falmouth, had been handed to 
Mr. Wedgwood by Mrs. Backhouse, wife of the Member 
of Parliament for Darlington. It is to this effect : 

In the early part of the last century a member of the 
Society of Friends, living at Settle, in Craven, had to 
take a journey to the borders of Scotland. This lady 
left her family, consisting of a little boy and two little 
girls, in charge of a relative, who, in lieu of sending 
frequent letters (iu those days a slow and costly mode 
of communication between places wudely remote), en- 
gaged to keep a journal, to be transmitted to the mother 
r.t any convenient opportunity, of all that concerned 
the little ones, who w r ere aged respectively seven, six, 
and four. 

After an absence of about three weeks, and when on 
her homeward journey, the Quakeress was seized with 
illness and died at Cockermouth, even before her hus- 
band at Settle could hear by post that she had been 
taken ill. The season was winter, when in the moun- 
tainous borderland between the counties the conveyance 
of letters by postmen on foot was an especially length- 
ened and difficult process. The friends at whose house 

SETTLE. 229 

the event occurred, seeing the hopeless nature of the 
attack, made notes of every circumstance attending the 
last hours of the dying wife and mother, for the satis- 
faction of her family, so that the accuracy of the several 
statements as to time as well as facts was beyond the 
doubtfulness of mere memory, or of even any uncon- 
scious attempt to bring them into agreement with each 
other. One morning, between seven and eight o'clock, 
on the relation at Settle going into the sleeping room of 
the three children, she found them all sitting up in 
their beds in great excitement and delight, crying out, 
"Mamma has been here! Mamma has been here!" 
And the little one said, " She called, c Come, Esther! ,M 
Nothing could make them doubt the fact, intensely 
visible as it was to each of them, and it was carefully 
noted down to entertain the mother on her speedily 
expected return to her home. 

That same morning, as she lay dying on her bed at 
Cockermouth, to those who were watching her tenderly 
and listening for her latest breath, she said, " I should 
be ready to go if I could but see my children." She 
then closed her eyes, they thought to re-open them no 
more ; but after ten minutes of perfect stillness she 
looked up brightly and said, " I am ready now; I have 
been with my children," and then at once peacefully 
passed away. When the notes taken at the two places 
were compared, the day, hour, and minute were the 

" One of the three children," says Mrs. Fox, " was my 
grandmother, Sarah Birkbeck (daughter of William 


Birkbeck, banker, of Settle), afterwards wife of Dr. 
Fell, of Ulverton, from whom I had the above account 
almost literally as I have repeated it. The elder was 
Morris Birkbeck, afterwards of Guildford. Both these 
lived to old age, and retained to the last so solemn and 
reverential a remembrance of the circumstance that they 
rarely would speak of it, or permit any allusion to it, 
lest it should be treated with doubt or levity. Esther, 
the youngest of the three, died soon after. Her brother 
and sister only heard the child say that her mother called 
her, but could not speak with any certainty of having 
themselves heard the words, nor did they seem sensible 
of any communication from her but simply of her 
standing there and looking at them. My grandmother 
and her brother," is the testimony of Mrs. Fox, " were 
both persons remarkable for strong matter-of-fact, rather 
than imaginative, minds, and to whom it was especially 
difficult to accept anything on faith, or merely hearsay 
evidence, and who by nature would be disposed to reject 
whatever seemed beyond the region of reason or of 
common experience." 


In the register of Brisly Church, Norfolk, against the 
12th of December 1706, stands the following words, 
which may serve as introduction to the extraordinary 


storv we have to tell in connection with Souldern 
Eectory : 

"I, Robert Withers, M.A., vicar of Gately, do insert 
here a story which I had from undoubted hands ; for I 
have all the moral certainty of the truth of it possible." 

The narrative referred to by Mr. Withers is as given 
in the following sentences, but not in the precise words 
of that gentleman, as they only furnish a very abridged 
account of the mysterious affair, besides deviating 
slightly from the more circumstantial and exact par- 
ticulars given in the private correspondence, subse- 
quently published in the Gentleman's Magazine, which 
passed between the Rev. John Hughes, of Jesus College, 
Cambridge (the learned editor of St. Ghrysostom on the 
Priesthood) t and the Rev. Mr. Bonwicke, very shortly 
after the events referred to took place. Mr. Hughes, 
who derived his information from Mr. Grove, public 
registrar of the Cambridge University, and the intimate 
friend of Mr. Shaw, writes thus : 

" The Rev. Mr. Shaw, formerly fellow of St. John's 
College, Cambridge, and subsequently rector of 
Souldern, a college living within twelve miles of 
Oxford, on the night of the 21st of July 1706, was 
sitting by himself smoking a pipe and reading, when 
he observed somebody open the door, and turning round 
was astounded to see the appearance of Mr. Naylor, 
formerly his fellow collegian at St. John's, and his 
intimate friend, but who had been dead fully five years. 
The apparition came into the room, garbed apparently 
in exactly the same clothes, and in exactly the same 


manner, as Mr. Navlor had been accustomed to at the 
University. Mr. Shaw was, of course, intensely amazed, 
but asserted that he " was not much affrighted, " and, 
after a little while recollecting himself, desired his 
visitor to sit down; this the apparition of Mr. Naylor 
did, drawing the chair up to his old friend and sitting 
by him. They then had a conference of upwards of an 
hour and a half, during which the visitor informed Mr. 
Shaw that he had been sent to give his old friend 
warning of his death, which would be very soon and 
very sudden. The apparition also mentioned several 
others of St. John's, particularly the famous Orchard, 
whose deaths were at hand. Mr. Shaw asked him if he 
could not give him another visit; but he said " No," as 
his (the apparition's) alloted time was but three days, 
and that he had others to visit who were at great 
distances apart. Mr. Shaw had an intense desire to 
inquire about the apparition's present condition, but was 
afraid to mention it, not knowing how it would be 
taken. At last he expressed himself in this manner : 

" Mr. Naylor, how is it with you in the other world ? ' 

He, the apparition, answered with a brisk and cheer- 
ful countenance, "Very well." 

Mr. Shaw proceeded to ask, " Are there any of our 
old friends with you ? " 

" Not one," responded he; "but Orchard will be with 
me soon, and you not long after." 

After this discourse the apparition took its leave and 
went out. Mr. Shaw offered to accompany it out of 
the room, but it beckoned with its hand that he should 


stay where he was, and seeming to turn into the next 
room, disappeared. 

The next day Mr. Shaw made his will, and not very 
long after, being seized with an apoplectic fit while he 
was reading service in church, he fell out of the desk, 
and died almost immediately. 

" He was ever looked upon as a pious man and a 
good scholar," says Mr. Hughes, who had the story of 
the apparition from Mr. Grove, a particular friend of 
Mr. Shaw, and who, being on a visit to Souldern 
soon after the event, had the whole particulars from 
the minister's own lips. Mr. Grove returned to Cam- 
bridge soon afterwards, and meeting with one of his 
college, was told that Mr. Arthur Orchard was dead. 

On the 21st of January 1707, the Rev. M. Turner, 
writing to the Rev. Mr. Bonwicke, with reference to 
this story, says, " There 's a circumstance relating to 
the apparition which adds a great confirmation to it, 
which, I suppose, Mr. Hughes did not tell you. There 
is one, Mr. Cartwright, a Member of Parliament,* a 
man of good credit and integrity, an intimate friend of 
Mr. Shaw, who told the same story with Dr. Grove 
(which he had from Mr. Shaw), at the Archbishop of 
Canterbury's table ; but he says further, that Mr. Shaw 
told him of some great revolutions in states, which he 
won't discover, being either obliged to silence by Mr. 
Shaw, or concealing them upon some prudent and 
polite reason." 

Mr. Shaw, it may be added, had been a noted enemy 

* I.e. for Northamptonshire. Editor 


to a belief in apparitions, and in company was 
accustomed to inveigh against any credence being 
placed in them, but after his presumed interview with 
the apparition of his old friend, spoke of that in such 
a way, with his more intimate acquaintances, as quite 
convinced them of his belief in its spirituality ; one 
of whom, the Rev. Richard Chainbre, vicar of Sopping- 
ton, Shropshire, wrote out an account, still extant, of 
the affair as related to him by Mr. Shaw. 



ThA ancient fortress bore the reputation, for a long 
number of years, of being haunted by the spirit of a 
certain man, known in the flesh as Porteous. The story 
of this haunting has been frequently told by Grose, the 
antiquary, and other well-known writers, and the truth of 
the events about to be recorded has been most emphati- 
cally asserted by persons of respectability and credit ; 
indeed, many a ghost story passes current that has not 
had such corroborative evidence as this tale of antique 

Spedlin's Tower, which stands on the south-west bank 
of the Annan, in the time of Charles the Second was in 
the possession of Sir Alexander Jardine, of Applegarth. 
At one time this baronet had confined in the dungeon 
of his tower a miller, named Porteous, who was suspected, 





i 1:4 


spedlin's tower, 235 

truthfully or not cannot be known, of having set fire 
wilfully to his own premises ; the alleged object tradition 
does not condescend to inform us. Sir Alexander Jar- 
dine, soon after this man's incarceration, was suddenly 
called away to Edinburgh, and carrying the keys of the 
dungeons with him, forgot or disregarded his prisoner, 
until he was passing through the West Port, when, 
it has been suggested, perhaps the sight of the warder's 
kevs brought to his mind his own. He sent back im- 
mediately a courier to liberate the unfortunate man, but 
Porteous had, in the meantime, perished of hunger. 

No sooner was he dead than his ghost began to tor- 
ment the household, and no rest was to be had within 
Spedlin's Tower by day or by night. In this dilemma 
Sir Alexander, according to old use and wont, summoned 
a whole legion of ministers to his aid; and by their 
strenuous efforts, Porteous was at length confined to the 
scene of his mortal agonies where, however, he con- 
tinued to scream occasionally at night, '"'Let me out, 
let me out, for I 'm deem' o' hunger ! '" He also used 
to flutter against the door of the vault, and was always 
sure to remove the bark from any twig that was sportively 
thrust through the key-hole. 

The spell which thus compelled the spirit to remain in 
bondage was attached to a large black-lettered Bible, 
used by the exorcists, and afterwards deposited in a 
stone-niche, which still remains in the wall of the stair- 
case ; and it is certain that after the lapse of many 
years, when the family repaired to a newer mansion 
(Jardine Hall), built on the other side of the river, the 


Bible was left behind, to keep the restless spirit in order. 
On one occasion, indeed, the volume requiring to be 
re-bound was sent to Edinburgh ; but the ghost, getting 
out of the dungeon, and crossing the river, made such a 
disturbance in the new house, hauling the baronet and his 
lady out of bed, and committing other annoyances, that 
the Bible was recalled before it reached Edinburgh, and 
replaced in its former situation. 

The good woman who told Grose this story in 1788, 
declared that should the Bible again be taken off the 
premises, no consideration whatever should induce her 
to remain there a single night. But the charm seems to 
be now broken, or the ghost must have become either 
quiet or disregarded ; for the old Bible has been removed, 
and is now kept at Jardine Hall. 


Although the name of the person chiefly concerned in 
the following narrative is concealed under the initial 
" S," the reference to the house where he had his 
remarkable vision, and the fact that it was then 
occupied by a relative of the gallant Captain, will 
afford sufficient means of identification to the curious. 
Premising this, it will now suffice to say that some 

few years ago Captain S was spending a single 

night in the Manse of Strachur, in Argyleshire. This 


residence was then in the occupation of some relations 
of the Captain, and, so far as is known, had not at 
that time the reputation of being haunted. 

Soon after the weary guest had retired to rest, the 
curtains of the bed were opened and somebody looked 
in upon him. Supposing it to be some inmate of the 
house who was not aware that the bed was occupied, 
the Captain took no notice of the circumstance till, 
it being two or three times repeated, he at length said, 
"What do you want ? Why do you disturb me in this 
manner ? " 

" I come," replied a voice, " to tell you that this day 
twelvemonth you will be with your father." 

After this Captain S was no more disturbed. In 

the morning he related the circumstance to his host, 
but, being an entire disbeliever in all spiritual pheno- 
mena, without attaching any importance to the warning. 

In the natural course of events, and quite irrespective 
of this visitation, on that day twelvemonth he was 
again at the Manse of Strachur, on his way to the 
north, for which purpose it was necessary that he should 
cross the ferry of Craigie. The day was, however, so 
exceedingly stormy, that his friend begged him not to 
go ; but he pleaded his business, adding that he was 
determined not to be withheld from his intention by the 
ghost, and although the minister delayed his departure 
by engaging him in a game of backgammon, he at 
length started up, declaring he could stay no longer. 
They therefore proceeded to the water, but found the 
boat was moored to the side of the lake, and the boat* 


man assured them that it would be impossible to cross. 

Captain S , however, insisted, and as the old man was 

firm in his refusal, he became somewhat irritated, and 

laid his cane lightly across his shoulders. 

"It ill becomes you, Sir," said the ferryman, "to 

strike an old man like me ; but since you will have your 

way, you must. I cannot go with you, but my son 

will ; but you will never reach the other side, he will be 

drowned, and vou too." 

The boat was then set afloat, and Captain S , 

together with his horse and servant, and the ferryman's 

son, embarked in it. 

The distance was not great, but the storm was 

tremendous ; and having, with great difficulty, got half 

way across the lake, it was found impossible to proceed. 

The danger of tacking was of course considerable ; but, 
since they could not advance, there was no alternative 

but to turn back, and it was resolved to attempt it. The 
manoeuvre, however, failed, the boat capsized, and they 
were all precipitated into the water. 

"You keep hold of the horse, I can swim," said 

Captain S to his servant, when he saw what was 

about to happen. 

Being an excellent swimmer, and the distance from 
the shore inconsiderable, he hoped to save himself, but 
he hod on a heavy topcoat, with boots and spurs. The 
coat he contrived to take off in the water, and then 
struck out with confidence ; but, alas ! the coat had got 
entangled with one of the spurs, and as he swam it 
clung to him, getting heavier and heavier as it became 


saturated with water, even dragging him beneath the 
stream. He, however, reached the shore, where his 
anxious friend still stood watching the event, and as the 
latter bent over him, he was just able to make a gesture 
with his hand, which seemed to say, " You see, it was to 
be ! " and then expired. 

The boatman was also drowned, but, by the aid of the 
horse, the servant escaped. 



Stories of haunted houses and ghostly tales are very 
prevalent in the western counties. Somersetshire is 
especially rich in these things, and one of the most 
suggestive accounts, of the many which have appeared 
in the pages of Notes and Queries, relates to this 
county. Mr. T. Westwood, who furnished the follow- 
ing narrative to the above publication, gave it as a 
faithful report, so far as he was concerned, and we re- 
produce it in the words of our authority : 

In the year 1840 I was detained for several months 
in the sleepy old town of Taunton. My chief associate 
during that time was a fox-hunting squire a bluff, 
hearty, genial type of his order, with just sufficient 
intellectuality to temper his animal exuberance. Many 
were our merry rides among the thorpes and hamlets of 
pleasant Somersetshire ; and it was in one of these 


excursions, while the evening sky was like molten 
copper, and a fiery March wind coursed like a race- 
horse over the open downs, that he related to me the 
story of what he called his Luminous Chamber. 

" Coming back from the hunt, after dark, he said he 
had frequently observed a central window, in an old hall 
not far from the roadside, illuminated. All the other 
windows were dark, but from this one a wan, dreary 
light was visible ; and as the owners had deserted the 
place, and he knew it had no occupant, the lighted 
window became a puzzle to him. 

" On one occasion, having a brother squire with him, 
and both carrying good store of port wine under their 
girdles, they declared they would solve the mystery of 
the Luminous Chamber then and there. The lodge was 
still tenanted by an aged porter ; him they roused up, 
and after some delay, having obtained a lantern, and 
the keys of the hall, they proceeded to make their 
entry. Before opening the great door, however, my 
squire averred he had made careful inspection of the 
front of the house from the lawn. Sure enough, the 
central window was illuminated an eerie, forlorn- 
looking light, made it stand out in contrast to the rest 
a dismal light, that seemed to have nothing in 
common with the w r orld, or the life that is. The two 
squires visited all the other rooms, leaving the luminous 
room till the last. There was nothing noticeable in 
any of them ; they were totally obscure. But on enter- 
ing the luminous room a marked change was percep- 
tible. The light in it was not full, but sufficiently so 


beneath them to distinguish its various articles of furni- 
ture, which were common and scanty enough. What 
struck them most was the uniform diffusion of the light ; 
it was as strong under the table as on the table, so that 
no single object projected any shadow on the floor, nor 
did they themselves project any shadow. Looking into 
a great mirror over the mantel-piece, nothing could be 
weirder, the squire declared, than the reflection in it of 
the dim, wan-lighted chamber, and of the two awe- 
stricken faces that glared on them from the midst his 
own and his companion's. He told me, too, that he 
had not been many seconds in the room before a sick 
faintness stole over him, a feeling such was his expres- 
sion, I remember as if his life were being sucked out 
of him. His friend owned afterwards to a similar sen- 
sation. The upshot of it was that both squires de- 
camped crestfallen, and made no further attempt at 
solving the mystery. 

"It had always been the same, the old porter grum- 
bled ; the family had never occupied the room, but 
there were no ghosts the room had a light of its oun. 

*'A less sceptical spirit might have opined that the 
room was full of ghosts an awful conclave viewless, 
inscrutable, but from whom emanated that deathly and 
aeauiy luminousness. 

"My squires must have gone the way of all squires 
ere this. After * life's fitful fever,' do they { sleep well ' ? 
Or have they both been 'sucked' into the luminous 
medium, as a penalty for their intrusion ? " 




Joseph Glanvil, whose unjustly neglected Essays con- 
tain some of the most magnificent germ thoughts of his 
age, wrote a curious work on witchcraft entitled Saddu- 
cismus Triumphatus. This work contains what its 
author styles " a choice collection of modern relations," 
referring to more or less known cases of apparitions, 
and similar supernatural phenomena. The chief of these 
relations is an account of the haunting of a house at 
Tedworth, Wiltshire, belonging to a Mr. John Mompes- 
son, and considering the length of time the disturbances 
endured, the position of the people who investigated the 
case, and the unfathomable mystery in which it still 
remains, it may be considered one of the most remark- 
able instances of its kind on record. Following the 
particulars furnished by Glanvil, who personally investi- 
gated the whole affair, the extraordinary story may be 
thus detailed : 

In March, 1661, Mr. Mompesson, who was a man of 
good family and well endowed with worldly possessions, 
in his magisterial capacity caused to be arrested and 
sent to Gloucester Jail as a rogue and vagabond a 
wandering beggar, who had been going about the 
country annoying people by his vehement solicitations 
for alms, and disturbing their quiet by the noisy beating 
of a large drum. Mr. Mompesson committed him to 
prison and had the drum consigned to the custody of 


the bailiff, and to this circumstance was attributed all 
the disturbances to which the unfortunate magistrate 
and his household were subsequently subjected. 

In the month following the vagrant's arrest Mr. 
Mompesson had occasion to visit London, but just 
before his departure the bailiff, for reasons not stated, 
took an opportunity of sending the man's drum to the 
magistrate's house. When he returned from his journey 
to the metropolis, Mr. Mompesson was informed by his 
wife that they had been much frightened during his 
absence bv thieves, and that the house had been nearly 

Mr * * 

broken into. He had not been home above three nights 
when noises similar to those that had terrified his family 
in his absence were again heard. It was a great knocking 
at the doors and outside of the house. " Hereupon he 
got up," to follow Glanvil's account, " and went about 
the house with a brace of pistols in his hands. He 
opened the door where the great knocking was, and 
then he heard the noise at another door. He opened 
that also, and went out round his house, but could 
discover nothing, only he still heard a strange noise 
and hollow sound. When he got back to bed there was 
a thumping and drumming on the top of his house, 
which continued a good space, and then by degrees went 
off into the air. 

" After this," according to Glanvil, " the noise of 
thumping and drumming was very frequent, usually five 
nights together, and then it would intermit three. It 
was on the outside of the house, which was most of it 
of board. It constantly came as they were going to 

16 * 


sleep, whether early or late. After a month's distur- 
bance without, it came into the room where the drum 
lay, four or five nights in seven, within half an hour 
after they were in bed, continuing almost two. The 
sign of it, just before it came, was a hurling in the air 
over the house ; and at its going off, the beating of a 
drum, like that at the breaking up of a guard. It 
continued in this room for the space of two months, 
which time Mr. Mompesson himself lay there to 
observe it. 

Mrs. Mompesson's confinement now taking place, the 
distressing noises politely refrained from manifesting 
themselves; but " after this civil cessation," as Glanvil 
phrases it, of about three weeks, the disturbances re- 
turned " in a ruder manner than before, and followed 
and vexed the youngest children, beating their bedsteads 
with that violence that all present expected that they 
would fall to pieces. In laying hands on them one 
could feel no blows, but might perceive them to shake 
exceedingly. For an hour together it would beat" the 
"Tattoo," and "several other points of war, as well 
as any drummer. After this they would hear a scratch- 
ing under the children's bed, as if by something that 
had iron talons. It would lift the children up in their 
beds, follow them from one room to another, and for a 
while haunted none particularly but them." 

" On the 5th of November," says Glanvil, " it made 
a mighty noise ; and a servant observing two boards 
in the children's room seeming to move, he bid it give 
him one of them. Upon which the board came (nothing 


moving it that he saw) within a yard of him. The man 
added, * Nay, let me have it in my hand ' ; upon which 
the spirit, devil, or drummer pushed it towards him so 
close that he might touch it. This," continues Glanvil, 
" was in the day-time, and seen by a whole roomful of 
people. That morning it left a sulphureous smell behind 
it which was very offensive. 

" At night the minister, one Mr. Cragg, and several 
of the neighbours came to the house on a visit. Mr. 
Cragg went to prayers with them, kneeling at the 
children's bedside, where it then became very trouble- 
some and loud. During prayer-time the spirit withdrew 
into the cock-loft, but returned as soon as prayers were 
done ; and then, in sight of the company, the chairs 
walked about the room of themselves, the children's 
shoes were hurled over their heads, and every loose 
thing moved above the chamber. At the same time a 
bed-staff was thrown against the minister, which hit 
him on the leg, but so favourably that a lock of wool 
could not have fallen more softly." 

As Mr. Mompesson found his youngest children were 
suffering so much from these persecutions, he had them 
removed, and lodged them at the house of a neighbour. 
His eldest daughter, who was about ten years of age, 
was taken into her father's own room, where there had 
not been any disturbance for a month or so. " As soon 
as she was in bed," continues the narration, " the 
disturbance began there again, continuing three weeks, 
drumming and making other noises; and it was observed 
that it would answer exactly, in drumming, anything 


that was beaten or called for," just in the same way as 
with the modern spirit-rappings, it has been suggested. 

Among the many things noted or reported of this 
house-haunting was, "that when the noise was loudest, 
and came with the most sudden and surprising violence, 
no dog about the house would move, though the knock- 
ing was oft so boisterous and rude that it hath been 
heard at a considerable distance in the fields, and 
awakened the neighbours in the village," none of whom 
lived very near Mr. Mompesson's bewitched abode. 

On one occasion when the village blacksmith, a fellow 
who feared neither man nor devil, slept with John, the 
footman, so that he might hear the supernatural noises 
and be cured of his incredulity, " there came a noise in 
the room as if one had been shoeing a horse, and some- 
what came, as it were, with a pair of pincers," snipping 
away at the sceptical blacksmith the chief part of the 
night. Next day the invisible being came panting like 
a dog out of breath, and a woman who was present 
taking up a staff to knock at it, the weapon "was 
caught suddenly out of her hand and thrown away; and 
company coming up, the room was presently filled with 
a bloomy noisome smell, and was very hot, though 
without fire, in a very sharp and severe winter. It con- 
tinued in the bed, panting and scratching for an hour 
and a half, and then went into the next room, when it 
knocked a little, and seemed to rattle a chain." 

For two whole years, with some occasional inter- 
missions, these disturbances continued, creating such 
intense excitement, not only in the vicinity of Tedworth, 


but all over the country, that at last the King sent 
a Commission to specially investigate the circumstances, 
and to draw up and furnish him with a report of the 
whole affair. Whatever, however, may have "been the 
cause, during the visit of the Royal Commission the 
disturbances ceased, and no manifestations took place. 
" As to the quiet of the house when the courtiers were 
there," says Glanvil, " the intermission may have been 
accidental, or, perhaps, the demon was not willing to 
give so public a testimony of those transactions which 
might possibly convince those whom he had rather should 
continue in unbelief of his existence." 

However, no sooner were the Royal Commissioners 
gone than the mysterious annoyance recommenced, 
and was manifested in many unpleasant fashions; 
sometimes it purred like a cat, or beat the children's 
legs black and blue; once it put a long spike into Mr. 
Mompesson's bed, and a knife into his mother's; filled 
the porringers with ashes, hid a Bible in the grate, and 
turned the money in people's pockets black. On one 
occasion a servant of Mr. Mompesson's averred that he 
had not only heard but seen this pertinacious demon, 
which came and stood at the foot of his bed. " The exact 
shape and proportion of it he could not discover ; but 
he saw a great body, with two red and glaring eyes, 
which, for some time, were fixed steadily on him, and at 
length disappeared." 

In the meanwhile, Mr. Mompesson believed, and 
several of his friends appear to have had a similar 
opinion, that all the noises and troubles were occasioned 




by the imprisoned drummer who was still in jail at 
Gloucester. In confirmation, as it were, of this idea, 
the following evidence is given : 

During the time of the knocking," says Glanvil, 

when many were present, a gentleman of the company 
said, 'Satan, if the drummer set thee to work, give three 
knocks, and no more,' which it did very distinctly, and 
stopt. Then the gentleman knockt to see if it would 
answer him as it was wont; hut it did not. For farther 
trial, he bid it, for confirmation, if it were the drummer, 
to give five knocks and no more that night, which it did, 
and let the house quiet all the night after. This was 
done in the presence of Sir Thomas Chamberlain, of 
Oxford, and divers others." 

In the meantime, the drummer being visited one day 
in jail by a person from the neighbourhood of Ted worth, 
he asked what was the news in Wiltshire, and, so it is 
alleged, whether people did not talk a great deal about 
a drumming in a gentleman's house there ? The visitor 
replied that he had heard of nothing ; to which the 
drummer responded: "I have done it; I have thus 
plagued him ; and he shall never be quiet until he 
hath made me satisfaction for taking away my drum." 

Mr. Mompesson had the drummer taken up again, 
and this time for felony, for the supposed witchcraft 
about his house. The grand jury found a true bill 
against the man, but he was acquitted, his connection 
with the disturbances not being proved. 

What subsequently became of the drummer is rather 
uncertain, but that he was eventually tried and convicted 


of witchcraft at Salisbury appears to be a fact, as also 
that he was sentenced to transportation for the crime. 
The leniency of the sentence is said to have excited no 
little surprise at that time, the offence of which he was 
found guilty generally being punished by death. 

Hitherto the history of the haunting at Tedworth is 
only a recapitulation of what Glanvil took down from 
the mouths of other people, but his own personal expe- 
riences should not be ignored in any account of this 
extraordinary affair. In January 1662 he visited the 
scene of the disturbance himself, and furnishes the 
following record of what he observed : 

"About this time I went to the house on purpose to 
inquire the truth of those passages, of which there was 
so loud a report. It had ceased from its drumming and 
ruder noises before I came thither ; but most of the 
more remarkable circumstances before related were con- 
firmed to me there, by several of the neighbours together, 
who had been present at them. At this time it used to 
haunt the children, and that as soon as they were laid 
in bed. They went to bed that night I was there, about 
eight of the clock, when a maid-servant, coming down 
from them, told us it was come. The neighbours that 
were there, and two ministers who had seen and heard 
divers times, went away ; but Mr. Mompesson and I, 
and a gentleman that came with me, went up. I heard 
a strange scratchiug as we went up the stairs, and when 
we came into the room, I perceived it was just behind 
the bolster of the children's bed, and seemed to be 
against the tick. It was loud scratching, as one with 


long nails could make upon a bolster. There were two 
little modest girls in the bed, between seven and eleven 
years old, as I guessed. I saw their hands out of the 
clothes, and they could not contribute to the noise that 
was behind their heads. They had been used to it, and 
had still somebody or other in the chamber with them, 
and therefore seemed not to be much affrighted. I, 
standing at the bed's head, thrust my hand behind the 
bolster, directing it to the place whence the noise seemed 
to come. Whereupon the noise ceased there, and was 
heard in another part of the bed. But when I had 
taken out my hand it returned, and was heard in the 
same place as before. I had been told that it would 
imitate noises, and made trial by scratching several 
times upon the sheet, as five, and seven, and ten, which 
it followed, and still stopped at my number. I searched 
under and behind the bed, turned up the clothes to the 
bed-cords, graspt the bolster, sounded the wall behind, 
and made all the search that possibly I could, to find 
if there were any trick, contrivance, or common cause of 
it. The like did my friend ; but we could discover nothing. 
So that I was then verily persuaded, and am so still, 
that the noise was made by some demon or spirit. After 
it had scratched about half an hour or more, it went into 
the midst of the bed, under the children, and then seemed 
to pant, like a dog out of breath, very loudly. I put 
my hand upon the place, and felt the bed bearing up 
against it, as if something within had thrust it up. I 
grasped the feathers to feel if any living thing were in 
it. I looked under, and everywhere about, to see if 


there were any dog, or cat, or any such creature, in the 
room, and so we all did, but found nothing. The motion 
it caused by this panting was so strong, that it shook the 
rooms and windows very sensibly. It continued more 
than half an hour, while my friend and I stayed in the 
room, and as long after, as we were told. 

"It will, I know, be said by some, that my friend 
and I were under some affright, and so fancied noises 
and sights that were not. This is the eternal evasion. 
But if it be possible to know how a man is affected 
when in fear, and when unaffected, I certainly know, 
for mine own part, that during the whole time of my 
being in the room, and in the house, I was under no 
more afTrightnient than I am while I write this relation. 
And if I know that I am now awake, and that I see 
the objects that are before me, I know that I heard 
and saw the particulars that I have told." 

Thus ends the Rev. Joseph Glanvil's account of this 
extraordinary affair, from which Mr. Mompesson, as he 
remarks, " suffered by it in his name, in his estate, in 
all his affairs, and in the general peace of his family," 
because, as the same authority points out, " the un- 
believers, in the matter of spirits and witches, took him 
for an impostor, many others judged the permission of 
such an extraordinary evil to be the judgment of God 
upon him for some notorious wickedness or impiety. 
Thus his name was continually exposed to censure, and 
his estate suffered by the concourse of people from all 
parts to his house ; by the diversion it gave him from 
his affairs ; by the discouragement of servants, by 


reason of which he could hardly get any to live with 
him ; to which I add the continual hurry that his 
family was in, the affrights, and the watchings and dis- 
turbance of his whole house (in which himself must 
needs be the most concerned). I say if these things 
are considered, there will be little reason to think he 
would have any interest to put a cheat upon the world, 
in which he would most of all have injured and abused 

Mr. Mompesson, writing on the 8th of November 
1672, or ten years after the events recorded had taken 
place, besides pointing out that no discovery had been 
made of any cheat, declared most solemnly that he 
knew of none, as he had, indeed, testified at the assizes. 
" If the world will not believe it," he concluded, "it 
shall be indifferent to me, praying God to keep me from 
the same or the like affliction." 


Probably the last person one would imagine selected 
for a supernatural warning was Samuel Foote, the 
mimic and buffoon. And yet the so-called "English 
Aristophenes " not only dwelt in a haunted house, or 
at least believed so, but was closely connected with the 
chief characters of one of the most unnatural tragedies 
our judicial records have preserved. Foote's maternal 

TKTJRO. 253 

uncles were Sir John Goodere and Captain Goodere, a 
naval officer. In 1740 the two brothers dined at a 
friend's house near Bristol ; for a loner time they had 
been on bad terms owing to certain money transactions, 
but at the dinner table a reconciliation was, to all 
appearance, arrived at between them. On his return 
home, however, Sir John was waylaid by some men 
from his brother's vessel, acting by his brother's 
authority, carried on board, and deliberately strangled ; 
Captain Goodere not only unconcernedly looking on, 
but actually furnishing the rope with which the crime 
was committed. For this atrocity the fratricidal officer 
and his confederates were tried at the Bristol assizes, 
found guilty, and executed. 

But, say the biographers of Foote, the strangest 
part of this terrible tale remains to be told. On the 
night the murder was perpetrated Foote arrived at his 
father's house at Truro ; he describes himself as having 
been kept awake for some time by the softest and 
sweetest strains of music he had ever heard. At first 
he tried to fancy it was a serenade got up by some of 
the family to welcome him home; but not beinsr able 
to discover any trace of the musicians, he was com- 
pelled to come to the conclusion that the sounds were 
the mere offspring of his imagination. 

Some short time afterwards Foote learnt the par- 
ticulars of his uncle's terrible fate, and remarking that 
the murder had been consummated at the same hour 
of the same night that he had been haunted by the 
mysterious sounds, he arrived at the conclusion that it 


was a supernatural warning, and this impression he is^ 
said to have retained to the last moments of his 


In his Treatise on Spirits, John Beaumont recites a 
very singular account of an apparition seen by the 
daughter of Sir Charles Lee, and related to the Bishop 
of Gloucester by the lady's father himself. It is 
considered one of the best authenticated cases on 

Sir Charles Lee had one only daughter by his first 
wife, who died at the child's birth. At her own desire, 
Lady Everard, sister of the deceased lady, had the 
child with her to educate it, and kept it under her care 
until she was of marriageable age. Ultimately, Miss 
Lee was engaged to Sir William Perkins, and the 
marriage was agreed upon, when it was prevented in an 
extraordinary manner. " Upon a Thursday night," to 
quote the Bishop's own words, Miss Lee, i{ thinking 
she saw a light in her chamber after she was in bed, 
knocked for her maid, who presently came to her ; and 
she asked her why she left a candle burning in hei 
chamber. The maid said she left none, and there was 
none but what she brought with her at that time. Then 
she said it was the fire ; but that, her maid told her, 
was quite out, and said she believed it was only a dream. 


whereupon she said it might be so, and composed her- 
self again to sleep. But about two of the clock she 
was awakened again, and saw the apparition of a little 
woman between her curtain and her pillow, who told 
her she was her mother, that she was happy, and that 
by twelve o'clock that day she should be with her. 
Whereupon she knocked again for her maid, called for 
her clothes, and when she was dressed went into her 
closet, and came not out again till nine, and then 
brought out with her a letter, sealed, to her father, 
brought it to her aunt, the Lady Everard, told her 
what had happened, and desired that as soon as she 
was dead it might be sent to him. But the lady thought 
she was suddenly fallen mad, and thereupon sent 
presently away to Chelmsford for a physician and 
surgeon, who both came immediately; but the physician 
could discern no indication of what the lady imagined, 
or of any indisposition of her body Notwithstanding 
the lady would needs have her let blood, which was 
done accordingly. And when the young woman had 
patiently let them do what they would with her, she 
desired that the chaplain might be called to read prayers ; 
and when the prayers were ended she took her guitar 
and psalm-book, and sate down upon a chair without 
arms, and played and sung so melodiously and admir- 
ablv, that her music-master, who was there, admired at 
it. And near the stroke of twelve she rose, and sat 
herself down in a great chair with arms, and presently, 
fetching a strong breathing or two, immediately ex 
pired ; and was so suddenly cold as was much wondered 


at by the physician and surgeon. She died at Waltham, 
in Essex, three miles from Chelmsford ; and the letter 
was sent to Sir Charles, at his house in Warwickshire ; 
but he was so afflicted with the death of his daughter, 
that he came not till she was buried. But when he 
came he caused her body to be taken up and to be t 
buried by her mother at Edmonton, as she desired in 
her letter." 

This event occurred in 1662, and there is no record, 
so far as we are aware, that any later, or, indeed, any 
previous, supernatural manifestations took place at Lady 
Everard's place. 


The following account of the hauntings at Warblington 
Parsonage, Hampshire, furnishes particulars of a story 
often referred to by writers on the supernatural, but 
which, apparently, they have never read, and only speak 
of by repute. The original version, as now repeated, 
was given in a letter written by Caswell, the mathe- 
matician, to the learned Dr. Bentley, whilst the 
latter was living at the house of Stillingfleet, the 
celebrated Bishop of Worcester. The name of the 
deceased person who was supposed to have appeared 
was suppressed at the time, for obvious reasons, but it 
has since been discovered to have been the Rev. 
Sebastian Pitfield, who was incumbent in 1677. An 


extract from Caswell's letter to Bentley will serve to 
introduce the narrative itself ; he writes : 

"I have sent you enclosed a relation of an appa- 
rition. The story I had from two persons, who each had 
it from the author, and yet their accounts somewhat 
varied, and passing through more mouths has varied 
much more ; therefore I got a friend to hring me the 
author, at a chamber, where I wrote it down from the 
author's mouth, and which, when I read it to him, and 
gave him another copy, he said he could swear to the 
truth of it as far as he was concerned. He is the curate 
of Warblington, Bachelor of Arts in Trinity College, 
Oxford, about six years standing in the University. T 
hear no ill report of his behaviour here. He is now gone 
to his curacy. He has promised to send up the hands of 
the tenant and his man, and the farmer's men, as far as 
they are concerned. Mr. Brereton, the rector, would 
have him say nothing of the story, for that he can get 
no tenant, though he has offered the house for ten 
pounds a year less. Mr. P., the former incumbent, 
whom the apparition represented, was a man of a very ill 
report, supposed to have got children of his maid, and 
to have murdered them ; but I advised the curate to say 
nothing himself of this last part of P., but to leave 
that to the parishioners who knew him." 

The narrative enclosed by Caswell, of the apparition, 
as written out by the curate, the Rev. Thomas Wilkins, 
on the 15th of December 1695, is as follows : 

"At Warblington, near Havant, Hampshire, within 
six miles of Portsmouth, in the parsonage-house, dwelt 



Thomas Perce, the tenant, with his wife and child, a 
man-servant Thomas, and a maid-servant. About the 
beginning of August 1695, on a Monday, about nine or 
ten at night, all being gone to bed except the maid 
with the child, she being in the kitchen, and having 
raked up the fire, took a candle in one hand, and the 
child in the other arm, and turning about, saw someone 
in a black gown walking through the room, and thence 
out of the door into the orchard. Upon this the maid, 
hasting up-stairs, having recovered but two steps, 
cried out ; on which the master and mistress van 
down, found the candle in her hand, she grasping the 
child about its neck with the other arm. She told them 
the reason of her crying out ; she would not that night 
tarry in the house, but removed to another belonging to 
one Henry Salter, farmer, where she cried out all the 
night from the terror she was in, and she could not be 
persuaded to go to the house upon any terms. 

" On the morrow, Tuesday, the tenant's wife came to 
me, lodging then at Havant, to desire my advice, and 
have consultation with some friends about it. I told her 
I thought it was a flam, and that they had a mind to 
abuse Mr. Brereton, the rector, whose house it was. She 
desired me to come up. T told her T would oomo up 
and sit up, or lie there, as she pleased ; for then, as to 
all stories of ghosts, or apparitions, I was an infidel. I 
went thither and sat up the Tuesday night with the 
tenant and his man-servant. About twelve or one o'clock 
I searched all the rooms in the house, to see if anybodv 
were hid there to impose upon me. At last we came, 


into a lumber-room; there I smiling told the tenant 
that was with me, that I would call for the apparition, 
if there was any, and oblige him to come. The tenant 
then seemed to be afraid, but I told him I would defend 
him from harm, and then I repeated Barbara celarent 
Darii, &c. jestingly ; on this the tenant's, countenance 
changed, so that he was ready to drop down with fear. 
Then I told him I perceived he was afraid, and I would 
prevent its coming, and repeated Baralipton, &c, and 
then he recovered his spirits pretty well, and we left 
the room and went down into the kitchen, where we 
were before, and sate up there the remaining part of the 
night, and had no manner of disturbance. 

"Thursday night the tenant and I lay together in 
one room, and he saw something walk along in a black 
gown and place itself against a window, and there stood 
for some time, and then walked off. Friday morning, 
the man relating this, I asked him why he did not call 
me, and I told him I thought that it was a trick or flam ; 
he told me the reason why he did not call me was 
that he was not able to speak or move. Friday night 
we lay as before, and Saturday night, and had no dis- 
turbance either of the nights. 

" Sunday I lay by myself in one room (not that 
where the man saw the apparition), and the tenant, and 
his man in one bed in another room, and betwixt 
twelve and two the man heard something walk in their 
room at the bed's foot, and whistling very well, and at 
last it came to the bed's bide, drew the curtain, ami 
looked on them. After some time it moved off; tLicn Lho 

17 * 


man called to me, desired me to come, for that there was 
something in the room went about whistling. I asked 
him whether he had any light, or could strike one ; he 
told me no. Then I leapt out of bed, and not staying 
to put on my clothes, went out of my room, and along 
a gallery to the door, which I found locked or bolted. 
I desired him to unlock the door, for that I could not 
get in ; then he got out of bed and opened the door, 
which was near, and went immediately to bed again. 
I went in three or four steps, and it being a moonlight 
light, I saw the apparition move from the bedside, and 
stop up against the wall that divided their room and 
mine. I went and stood directly against it, within my 
arm's length of it, and asked it, in the name of God, 
what it was that made it come disturbing of us ? I 
stood some time expecting an answer and receiving 
none, and thinking it might be some fellow hid in 
the room to fright me, I put out my arm to feel it, and 
my ha?id seemingly icent through the body of it, and 
felt no manner of substance till it came to the wall; 
then I drew back my hand, and still it was in the same 

" Till now," declares Mr. Wilkins, "I had not the 
least fear, and even now had very little ; then I adjured 
it to tell me what it was. When I had said those 
words it, keeping its back against the wall, moved 
gently along towards the door. I followed it, and it, 
going out at the door, turned its back towards me. It 
went a little along the gallery, I followed it a little into 
the gallery, and it disappeared, where there was no 


corner for it to turn, and before it came to the end of 
the gallery, where were the stairs. Then I found myself 
very cold from my feet as high as my middle, though I 
was not in great fear. I went iuto the bed betwixt 
the tenant and his man, and they complained of my 
being exceedingly cold. The tenant's man leaned over 
his master in the bed, and saw me stretch out my hand 
towards the apparition, and heard me speak the words ; 
the tenant also heard the words. The apparition 
seemed to have a morning gown of a darkish colour, no 
hat nor cap, short black hair, a thin, meagre visage of a 
pale swarthy colour, seemed to be of about forty- 
five or fifty years old, the eyes half shut, the arms 
hanging down, the hands visible beneath the sleeves, of a 
middle stature. I related this description to Mr. John 
Lardner, rector of Havant, and to Major Battin of 
Langstone, in Havant parish ; they both said the 
description agreed very well to Mr. P(itfield), a former 
rector of the place, who has been dead above twenty 
years. Upon this the tenant and his wife left the house, 
which has remained void since. 

" The Monday after last Michaelmas," resumes Mr. 
Wilkins, " a man of Chodson, in Warwickshire, having 
been at Havant fair, passed by the foresaid parsonage 
house about nine or ten at night, and saw a light in 
most of the rooms of the house. His pathway being 
close by the house, he, wondering at the light, looked 
into the kitchen window, and saw only a light ; but 
turning himself to go away, he saw the appearance of a 
man in a long gown. He made haste away ; the appa- 


rition followed him over a piece of glebe-land of several 
acres to a lane, which he crossed, and over a little 
meadow, and then over another lane to some pales 
which belong to farmer Henry Salter, my landlord, near 
a barn, in which were some of the farmer's men and 
some others. This man went into the barn, told them 
how he was frighted and followed from the parsonage- 
house by an apparition, which they might see standing 
against the pales if they went out. They went out, and 
saw it scratch against the pales, and make a hideous 
noise. It stood there some time, and then disappeared. 
Their description agreed with what I saw. This last 
account I had from the man himself whom it followed, 
and also from the farmer's men." 

In conclusion may be appended to this very circum- 
stantial document of the Rev. Thomas Wilkins, the 
statement that it was subsequently alleged that the Rev. 
Sebastian Pitfield, whom the apparition was presumed 
to personify, had murdered his own illegitimate children. 


Among the many extremely curious stories of appari- 
tions which correspondence on them and kindred sub- 
jects has elicited, is the following, which was fur- 
nished bv Mr. T. J. Allman to the columns of Notes and 
Queries. It was communicated to that gentleman, the 


well-known publisher (it is believed), by the Rev. Mr. 

L , a clergyman of the Church of England ; but as 

it was published without Mr. L 's consent having 

been first obtained, his name was not given. Unfortu- 
nately, no more definite address than Westminster can 
be given, that being the locality, however, where the 
apparition appeared to Captain L . The clergy- 
man's narrative is this : 

" One evening, some two years since, my brother, an 
officer in the army, residing at Westminster, surprised 
me with a late visit at my house in Holloway, just as 
we were retiring to rest. ' Brother ! ' exclaimed he, in 
an excited manner, ' mother is dead ! ' ' When and how* 
did you hear ? ' I replied, as she was living some con- 
siderable distance from town, and was, a3 far as we both 
knew, although aged, in good health. ' I have seen her 
pass me twice this evening in my room, with her head 
bandaged up, and I could not rest till I saw you,' was 
his answer. 

" In consequence of his conviction and entreaties, it 
was determined to take the first train in the morning to 
the locality where our mother resided, and, upon our 
arrival, sure enough we found, to my surprise, that our 
mother had died suddenly the previous evening at the 
exact hour my brother had witnessed the apparition." 

For the truth of this story Mr. Allman stated he 
would vouch. 



In his Miscellanies, Aubrey cites the singular narrative 
of Captain Henry Bell, originally given in the Preface 
to the translation of Luther's Table Talk. Captain 
Bell begins by declaring that whilst employed beyond 
the seas in various State affairs for King Charles II. 
and his successor, James II., he had heard much lamen- 
tation made over the great destruction, by burning 
and otherwise, of Martin Luther's Discourses. This 
work, which was supposed to have largely promoted 
the reformation, was condemned by Pope Gregory 
XIII., and placed under the ban of the Empire by 
Rudolph III. This latter monarch ordered that all 
printed copies of the work should be burned, and 
that any person retaining a copy would be liable to 
the punishment of death. In consequence of this 
rigorous edict, and the stringency with which it was 
enforced, in a little while no copies were obtainable. 

A certain Caspar von Sparr, however, according to 
Captain Bell's account, accidentally discovered a copy, 
in 1626, which had escaped the wholesale destruction 
the work had suffered. As the prosecution of Protes- 
tantism still continued, this gentleman was afraid to 
retain possession of the interdicted book, and yet, un- 
willing to destroy it, thought of Captain Bell. Know- 
ing that he was thoroughly acquainted with German, he 
forwarded him the wonderfully preserved work, earnestly 


impressing upon him the utility of translating it into 

Captain Bell did not appear to he in any great hasto 
to comply with this request, but, nevertheless, took the 
work in hand, " and many times began to translate the 
same," as he remarks, "but always I was hindered 
therein, being called upon about other business, inso- 
much that by no possible means I could remain by that 
work." About six weeks after he had received the book 
from Germany, "it fell out," to cite his own words, 
" that being in bed with my wife, one night between 
twelve and one o'clock, she being asleep, but myself 
yet awake, there appeared unto me an ancient man, 
standing at my bedside, arrayed in white, having a long 
and broad white beard hanging down to his girdle, who, 
taking me by the right ear, spake these words following 
unto me : f Sirrah, will not you take time to translate 
that book which is sent unto you out of Germany ? I 
will provide for you both place and time to do it' ; and 
then he vanished out of my sight. 

" Whereupon, being much affrighted," Captain Bell 
continues, " I fell into an extreme sweat, insomuch that, 
my wife awaking, she asked me what I ailed. I told 
her what I had seen and heard ; but I never did heed or 
regard visions nor dreams, and so the same fell soon out 
of my mind. 


" Then about a fortnight after I had seen the vision, 
on a Sunday, I went to Whitehall to hear the sermon, 
after which ended, I returned to my lodging, which was 
then in King Street, Westminster, and sitting down 


to dinner with my wife, two messengers were sent from 
the Council Board to carry me to the keeper of the 
gate-house at Westminster, there to be safely kept, until 
further orders from the Lords of the Council." 

This was done, avers Bell, without any cause being 
shown ; but his real offence, according to Aubrey, was 
that he had much importuned the Lord Treasurer for 
considerable arrears which were due to him, and which 
that official not being willing to discharge, " clapt him 
up into prison." Be the cause what it may, Bell was 
detained in close confinement for ten years, five of 
which, he states, he spent in translating the work of 
Luther above referred to. As he quaintly remarks, 
" I found the words very true which the old man in the 
aforesaid vision said unto me, ' i" will shortly provide 
you both place and time to translate it.' w 


Willington is a hamlet, lying in a deep valley between 
Newcastle-on-Tyne and North Shields. Thirty years 
ago it consisted of a parsonage, some few cottages, a 
mill, and the miller's house. The mill is, or was thirty 
years ago, a large steam flour-mill, like a factory, and 
near it, but completely detached, was the miller's house. 



Messrs. Unthank and Proctor were the proprietors and 
workers of the mill, aud Mr. Joseph Procter, one of the 
partners, resided in the house adjoining it. Mr. Procter, 
a respectable member of the Society of Friends, a man 
in the prime of life, was married to a lady belonging to 
the same religious fraternity, and was the father of 
several young children. 

The house in which Mr. Procter resided was built 
about the beginniug of the present century, and as 
described by Mr. Howitt in 1847, had nothing spectral 
in its appearance, although located in a somewhat wild- 
looking region, just off the river Tyne. The railway 
runs close by it, and engines connected with coal mines 
are constantly at work in its vicinity. When rumours 
as to the miller's residence being haunted began to 
spread, Mr. Procter, it is alleged, although evidently 
much troubled by the disturbances in his dwelling, was 
unwilling to give publicity to his troubles. Apparently 
this unwillingness wore off eventually, as in course of 
time Mr. Procter frequently communicated with the 
Press on matters connected with the singular events at 

The chief published authority for an account of the 
haunted house at Willington, would appear to be a 
pamphlet reprinted in The Local Historian's Table 
Book, whence Mr. Howitt and Mrs. Crowe derived their 
particulars, and whence the following statement is chiefly 

" We have visited the house in question," says the 
writer of the pamphlet referred to, " and it may not be 


irrelevant to mention that it is quite detached from the 
mill, or any other premises, and has no cellaring under 
it. The proprietor of the house, who lives in it, de- 
clines to make public the particulars of the disturbance 
to which he has been subjected, and it must be under- 
stood that the account of the visit we are about to lay 
before our readers is derived from a friend to whom 
Mr. Drury presented a copy of his correspondence on 
the subject, with power to make such use of it as he 
thought proper. We learned that the house had been 
reputed, at least one room in it, to have been haunted 
forty years ago, and had afterwards been undisturbed 
for a long period, during some years of which 
quietude the present occupant lived in it unmolested. 
We are also informed that, about the time that the 
premises were building there were reports of some 
deeds of darkness having been committed by someone 
employed about them." 

The writer of this account, after alluding to the 
strange things seen and heard, or said to have been seen 
and heard, by various persons in the neighbourhood, 
proceeds to quote the following correspondence which, 
he remarks, " passed between individuals of undoubted 
veracity." The copy of the first letter on the subject, 
written by Mr. Edward Drury, of Sunderland, to Mr. 
Procter, reads thus: 

" 17th June 1840. " 

" Sir, Having heard from indisputable authority, 
viz. that of my excellent friend, Mr. Davison, of Low 
Willi ngton, farmer, that you and your family are dis- 


turbed by most unaccountable noises at night, I beg 
leave to tell you that I have read attentively Wesley's 
account of such things, but with, I must confess, no 
great belief; but on account of this report coming 
from one of your sect, which I admire for candour and 
simplicity, my curiosity is excited to a high pitch, 
which I would fain satisfy. My desire is to remain 
alone in the house all night, with no companion but my 
own watch-dog, in which, as far as courage and fidelity 
are concerned, I place much more reliance than upon 
any three young gentlemen I know of. And it is, also, 
my hope that if I have a fair trial I shall be able to 
unravel this mystery. Mr. Davison will give you every 
satisfaction if you take the trouble to inquire of him 
concerning me. I am, &c." 

In response to this application, Mr. Procter sent the 
lollowing note : 

" Joseph Procter's respects to Edward Drury, whose 
note he received a few days ago, expressing a wish to 
pass a night in his house at Willington. As the family 
is going from home on the 23rd instant, and one of 
Unthank and Procter's men will sleep in the house, if 
E. D. feels inclined to come, on or after the 24th, to 
spend a night (sic) in it, he is at liberty so to do, with 
or without his faithful dog, which, by-the-bye, can be of 
no possible use, except as company. At the same time, 
J. P. thinks it best to inform him that particular dis- 
turbances are far from frequent at present, being only 
occasional, and quite uncertain ; and, therefore, the 


satisfaction of E. D.'s curiosity must be considered as 
problematical. Tbe best chance will be afforded by 
his sitting up alone in the third story till it be fairly 
daylight, say 2 or 3 a.m. 

" Willington, 6th mo. 21st, 1840. 

" J. P. will leave word with T. Maun, foreman, to 
admit ED." 

The Procters left home on the 23rd of June, leaving 
the house in charge of an old servant, who, being out 
of place on account of ill-health, was induced to under- 
take the duty during their absence. On the 3rd of 
July, Mr. Procter returned home, having been recalled 
by business matters, and on the evening of the same 
day Mr. Drury and a companion arrived unexpectedly. 
After the house had been locked up for the night, 
every corner of it underwent minute examination on 
the part of the visitors. The room out of which the 
apparition was accustomed to issue was found to 
be too shallow to contain any person. Mr. Drury 
and his companion were well provided with lights, 
and satisfied themselves that there was no one in 
the house besides Mr. Procter, his servant, and them- 

Some correspondence which subsequently took place 
between Mr. Drury and Mr. Proctor, with respect to 
the ill effects of what he did see had had upon the 
former, and the request of the latter for a detailed 
account of his visitor's experience, need not be 
given, as the following letter, copied verbatim, will 


fully describe what Mr. Drury says he really saw and 
heard : 

" Sunderland, July 13th, 1840. 

"Dear Sir, 

" I hereby, according to promise in my last 
letter, forward you a true account of what I heard and 
saw at your house, in which I was led to pass the night 
from various rumours circulated by most respectable 
parties, particularly from an account by my esteemed 
friend. Mr. Davison, whose name I mentioned to you in 
a former letter. Having received your sanction to visit 
your mysterious dwelling, I went, on the 3rd of July, 
accompanied by a friend of mine, T. Hudson. This 
was not according to promise, nor in accordance with 
my first intent, as T wrote you I would come alone; 
but I felt gratified at your kindness in not alluding to 
the liberty I had taken, as it ultimately proved for the 
best. I must here mention that, not expecting you at 
home, I had in my pocket a brace of pistols, deter- 
mining in my mind to let one of them drop before the 
miller, as if by accident, for fear he should presume 
to play tricks upon me; but after my interview with 
you, I felt there was no occasion for weapons, and did 
not load them, after you had allowed us to inspect as 
minutely as we pleased every portion of the house. I 
sat down on the third-story landing, fully expecting to 
account for any noises that I might hear in a philo- 
sophical manner. This w r as about eleven o'clock p.m. 
About ten minutes to twelve we both heard a noi^c, as 


if a number of people were pattering with their bare 
feet upon the floor, and yet, so singular was the noise, 
that I could not minutely determine from whence it 
proceeded. A few minutes afterwards we heard a noise, 
as if someone was knocking with his knuckles among 
our feet ; this was followed by a hollow cough from the 
very room from which the apparition proceeded. The 
only noise after this, was as if a person was rustling 
against the wall in coming up-stairs. At a quarter to 
one, I told my friend that, feeling a little cold, I would 
like to go to bed, as we might hear the noise equally 
well there ; he replied, that he would not go to bed till 
daylight. I took up a note which I had accidentally 
dropped, and began to read it, after which I took out 
my watch to ascertain the time, and found that it 
wanted ten minutes to one. In taking my eyes from 
the watch they became riveted upon a closet door, 
which I distinctly saw open, and saw also the figure of 
a female, attired in greyish garments, with the head 
inclining downwards and one hand pressed upon the 
chest as if in pain, and the other, viz. the right hand, 
extended towards the floor with the index finger 
pointing downwards. It advanced with an apparently 
cautious step across the floor towards me; immediately 
as it approached my friend, who was slumbering, 
its right hand was extended towards him. I then 
rushed at it, giving, as Mr. Procter states, a most 
awful yell ; but, instead of grasping it, I fell upon my 
friend, and I recollect nothing distinctly for nearly 
three hours afterwards. I have since learnt that 


I was carried down-stairs in an agony of fear and 

"I hereby certify that the above account is strictly 
true and correct in every respect. 

" Edward Drury." 

The appearance in print of Mr. Drury's letter 
naturally created a great sensation. Mr. Procter re- 
ceived a large number of letters in consequence of the 
publication, many of them, it is alleged, being from 
individuals in various positions of society, informing 
him that their residences were, and had long been, 
subjected to similar disturbances to those alleged to 
trouble his. 

Other instances of the way in which Mr. Procter's 
house was haunted are recorded by Mr. Howitt. On 
one occasion another apparition was seen by four wit- 
nesses, who were enabled to watch its proceedings for 
the space of ten minutes. They were on the outside of 
the building, when they beheld the apparition of a bare- 
headed man, in a flowing robe like a surplice, gliding 
backwards and forwards about three feet from the floor, 
or level with the bottom of the second-story window, 
seeming to enter the wall on each side, thus presenting 
the spectators with a side view in passing. " It then 
stood still in the window, and a part of the figure came 
through both the blind, which was close down, and the 
window, as its luminous body intercepted the view of 
the framework of the window. It was semi-trp-nsparent, 
and as bright as a star, diffusing a radiance ail around. 



As it grew more dim, it assumed a blue tinge, and 
gradually faded away from the head downwards." The 
foreman, one of the spectators, passed close to the house 
under the window, and also went up to inform the 
family, but found the house locked up. " There was 
no moonlight," says the account, " nor a ray of light 
visible anywhere about, and no person near." 

"One of Mrs. Procter's brothers, a gentleman in 
middle life and of a peculiarly sensible, senate, and 
candid disposition," says Mr. Howitt, " assured me 
that he had himself, on a visit there, been disturbed by 
the strangest noises. That he had resolved, before 
going, that if any noises occurred he would speak, and 
demand of the invisible actor who he was, and why he 
came thither. But the occasion came, and he found 
himself unable to fulfil his intention. As he lay in bed 
one night, he heard a heavy step ascend the stairs 
towards his room, and someone striking, as it were, 
with a thick stick on the bannisters as he went along. 
It came to his door, and he essayed to call, but his 
voice died in his throat. He then sprang from his bed, 
and, opening the door, found no one there, but now 
heard the same heavy steps deliberately descending, 
though perfectly invisible, the steps before his face, and 
accompanying the descent with the same loud blows on 
the bannisters." A thorough search was at once made 
of the premises, in the company of Mr. Procter, but 
nothing was discovered that would account for the 
mysterious noises. 

From two young ladies who, whilst on a visit to Mr. 


Procter's, were annoyed by the apparition, Mr. Howitt 
received this terrifying account of their experiences : 
" The first night, as they were sleeping in the same bed, 
they felt the bed lifted up beneath them. Of course they 
were much alarmed. They feared lest someone had 
concealed himself there for the purpose of robbery. 
They gave an alarm, search was made, but nothing 
was found. On another night their bed was violently 
shaken, and the curtains suddenly hoisted up all round 
to the very tester, as if pulled by chords, and as rapidly 
let down again, several times. Search again produced 
no evidence of the cause. The next day they had the 
curtains totally removed from the bed, resolving to sleep 
without them, as they felt as though evil eyes were 
lurking behind them. The consequences of this, how- 
ever, were still more striking and terrific. The following 
night, as they happened to awake, and the chamber was 
light enough for it was summer to see everything in 
it, they both saw a female figure, of a misty substance 
and bluish-grey hue, come out of the wall at the bed s 
head, and through the head-board, in a horizontal 
position, and lean over them. They saw it most 
distinctly. They saw it, as a female figure, come out 
of, and again pass into, the wall. Their terror became 
intense, and one of the sisters, from that night, refused 
to sleep any more in the house, but took refuge in the 
house of the foreman during her stay, the other shifting 
her quarters to another part of the house." 

Among the various forms in which these disturbances 
were manifested at Mr. Procter's house were, according to 

18 * 


the statements made by different persons to Mr. Howitt 
a noise like that of a pavior with his hammer thumping 
on the floor ; at other times similar noises are heard 
coming down the stairs ; frequently are heard coughs, 
sighs and groans, as of a person in distress, and some- 
times there is the sound of a number of little feet 
pattering on the floor of the upper chamber when the 
female apparition has more particularly exhibited itself, 
and which, for that reason, is solely used as a lumber- 
room. " Here these little footsteps," says the narrative, 
"may be often heard, as if careering a child's carriage 
about, which in bad weather is kept up there." Some- 
times, again, it utters the most blood-curdling laughter, 
whilst it does not even confine itself to making " night 
hideous," but appears in broad daylight. " On one 
occasion, a young lady assured me," says Mr. Howitt, 
" she opened the door in answer to a knock, the house- 
maid being absent, and a lady in a fawn-coloured silk 
entered and proceeded up-stairs. As the young lady, of 
course, supposed it to be a neighbour come to make a 
morning call on Mrs. Procter, she followed her up to the 
drawing-room, where, however, to her astonishment, she 
did not find her, nor was anything more seen of her." 

Two apparitions appear to have haunted the house, 
one in the likeness of a man, as already described, which 
is luminous, and passes through the walls as if they 
offered no solid obstacle to it, and which is well known 
to the neighbours by the name of " Old Jeffrey." The 
other is the figure of a female in greyish garments, as 
described by Mr. Drury. She is said to be sometimes 


seen sitting wrapped in a sort of mantle, with her head 
depressed and her hands crossed on her lap. " The 
most terrible fact is that she is without eyes." 

After enduring these terrible annoyances for some 
years, Mr. Procter, apprehensive of the ill effect they 
might have upon his children, says Mr. Howitt, quitted 
"Wellington and removed to North Shields, and subse- 
quently to Tynemouth. At neither of these new abodes 
was he troubled by any similar manifestations. Mr. 
Procter states that a strange lady, strange to the district, 
being thrown into a clairvoyant state, and asked to go 
to the Mill, she described the priest and the grey lady, 
the two apparitions which haunted it. She also added 
that the priest had refused to allow the female ghost to 
confess a deadly crime committed at that spot many 
years ago, and that this was the troubling cause of the 
poor woman's apparition. 


Windsor, like most of our old castles, whether the 
residences of royalty, nobility, or commonalty, has had 
its apparitions. It is well known that previous to the 
assassination of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham 
by Felton, an apparition of the Duke's father, Sir 
George Villiers, had appeared to, and sent him warning 
of his approaching fate by, a certain person ; but it has 


created endless controversy that the accounts of this 
apparition, as recorded by Aubrey, Lord Clarendon, and 
others, are so various and varied. It never appears to 
have occurred to anyone to remark that it is just as 
probable that the apparition may have appeared to three 
or more persons, at different times and places, as to one, 
and that, looking at the different stories from this point 
of view, all the alleged discrepancies disappear, and, in 
fact, the various records of the marvellous story, instead 
of contradicting, serve to corroborate one another. 

In Notes and Queries for July, I860, Mr. Hargrave 
Jennings published a very curious and circumstantial 
account of the appearance, on three separate occasions, 
of an apparition of Sir George Villiers to one Parker, 
formerly a servant of Sir George, and at that time in 
the employment of his son, the Duke. This letter, 
originally published some few years after the Duke's 
death, is of considerable interest ; but as it, in many 
respects, parallels other and less accessible accounts, it 
may be passed over in favour of the story as told by 
Lord Clarendon and Aubrey. According to the account 
furnished by the former in his History of the Rebellion. 
the apparition of Sir George Villiers appeared to an 
officer in the King's Wardrobe, in Windsor Castle. This 
man, says Clarendon, was of a good reputation for 
honesty and discretion, and at the time referred to was 
about fifty years of age. 

" He had in his youth been bred in a school in the 
parish where Sir George Villiers, the father of the Duke, 
lived, and had been much cherished and obliged, in that 


season of his age, by the said Sir George, whom after- 
wards he never saw. 

" About six months before the miserable end of the 
Duke of Buckingham, about midnight, this man being 
in his bed at Windsor, where his office was, and in 
good health, there appeared to him, at the side of his 
bed, a man of a very venerable aspect, who drew the 
curtains of his bed, and, fixing his eyes upon him, asked 
him if he knew him. 

" The poor man, half dead with fright and appre- 
hension, being asked the second time whether he remem- 
bered him, and having in that time called to his memory 
the presence of Sir George Villiers, and the very clothes 
he used to wear, in which at that time he seemed to be 
habited, he answered him that he thought him to be that 
person. He replied he was in the right, he was the 
same, and that he expected a service from him, which 
was, that he should go from him to his son, the Duke 
of Buckingham, and tell him if he did not somewhat to 
ingratiate himself with the people, or at least to abate 
the extreme malice which they had against him, he 
would be suffered to live but a short time. 

" After this discourse he disappeared, and the poor 
man (if he had been at all waking), slept very well till 
morning, when he believed all this to be a dream, and 
considered it no otherwise. 

" The next night, or shortly after, the same person 
appeared to him again, in the same place, and 
about the same time of the night, with an aspect 
a little more severe than before, and asked him 


whether he had done as he required of him ; and per- 
ceiving he had not, gave him very severe reprehensions, 
told him he expected more compliance from him, and 
that, if he did not perform his commands, he should 
enjoy no more peace of mind, but should always be 
pursued by him, upon which he promised him to obey. 

" But the next morning, waking out of a good sleep, 
though he was exceedingly perplexed with the lively 
representation of all particulars to his memory, he was 
willing still to persuade himself that he had only 
dreamed, and considered that he was a person at such a 
distance from the Duke, that he knew not how to gain 
admission to his presence, much less had any hope of 
being believed in what he should say ; so he spent some 
time in thinking what he should do, and in the end he 
resolved to do nothing in the matter. 

" The same person appeared to him the third time, 
with a terrible countenance, and bitterly reproached him 
for not performing what he had promised to do. The poor 
man had by this time recovered the courage to tell him 
that, in truth, he had deferred the execution of his com- 
mands, upon considering how difficult a thing it would 
be for him to get any access to the Duke, having 
acquaintance with no person about him ; and if he should 
obtain admission to him, he should never be able to 
persuade him that he was sent in such a manner; that 
he should at least be thought to be mad, or to be set on 
and employed by his own, or the malice of other men, to 
abuse the Duke, and so he should be sure to be undone. 

" The apparition replied, as he had done before, that 


he should never find rest till he had performed what he 
required, and therefore he were better to despatch it ; 
that the access to his son was known to be very easy, and 
that few men waited long for him. As for his gaining 
credit, he would tell him two or three particulars, which 
he charged him never to mention to any person living 
but to the Duke himself, and he should no sooner hear 
them but he should believe all the rest he said ; and so, 
repeating his threats, he left him. 

"In the morning the poor man, more confirmed by 
the last appearance, made his journey to London, where 
the Court then was. He was very well known to Sir 
Ralph Freeman, one of the Masters of Requests, who 
married a lady that was nearly allied to the Duke, 
and was himself well received by him. To him this 
man went, and though he did not acquaint him with all 
the particulars, he said enough to let him know there 
was something extraordinary in it, and the knowledge 
he had of the sobriety and discretion of the man made 
the more impression on him. He desired that, by his 
means, he might be brought to the Duke, in such a 
place and in such a manner as should be thought fit, 
affirming that he had much to say to him, and of such 
a nature as would require much privacy, and some time 
and patience in the hearing. 

" Sir Ralph promised that he would first speak to 
the Duke of him, and then he should understand his 
pleasure. Accordingly, the first opportunity, he did 
inform him of the reputation and honesty of the man, and 
then what he desired, and of all he knew of the matter. 


" The Duke, according to his usual openness and 
condescension, told him that he was the next day early 
to hunt with the King, that his horses should attend 
him at Lambeth bridge, where he should land by five 
o'clock in the morning, and, if the man attended him 
there at that hour, he would walk and speak with him 
as long as should be necessary. 

" Sir Ealph carried the man with him the next 
morning, and presented him to the Duke at his landing, 
who received him courteously, and walked aside in con- 
ference near an hour ; none but his own servants being 
at that hour in that place, and they and Sir Ealph at 
such a distance that they could not hear a word, though 
the Duke sometimes spoke loud, and with great com- 
motion, which Sir Ralph the more easily perceived, 
because he kept his eyes always fixed upon the Duke, 
having procured the conference upon somewhat he knew 
there was of extraordinary. 

" The man told him, in his return over the water, 
that when he mentioned those particulars which were to 
gain him credit (the substance whereof, he said, he 
durst not impart to him), the Duke's colour changed, 
and he swore he could come at that knowledge only by 
the Devil, for that those particulars were only known to 
himself, and to one person more, who he was sure would 
never speak of it. 

" The Duke pursued his purpose of hunting, but was 
observed to ride all the morning with great pensiveness, 
and in deep thoughts, without any delight in the exercise 
he was upon ; and before the morning was spent, he left 


the field and alighted at his mother's lodgings in White- 
hail, with whom he was shut up for the space of two or 
three hours, the noise of their discourse frequently 
reaching the ears of those who attended in the next 
rooms. And when the Duke left her, his countenance 
appeared full of trouble, with a mixture of anger a 
countenance that was never before observed in him in 
any conversation with her, towards whom he had a 
profound reverence ; and the Countess herself (for 
though she was married to a private gentleman, Sir 
Thomas Compton, she had been created Countess of 
Buckingham shortly after her son had first assumed 
that title) was, at the Duke's leaving, found overwhelmed 
in tears, and in the highest agony imaginable. 

"Whatever there was in all this," says Clarendon, 
"it is a notorious truth, that when the news of the 
Duke's murder (which happened within a few months 
after), was brought to his mother, she seemed not in the 
least degree surprised, but received it as if she had 
foreseen it ; nor did afterwards express such a degree of 
sorrow as was expected from such a mother, for the loss 
of such a son." 

This is the story as repeated by the grave historian of 
the so-called "Rebellion," with the assurance that it is 
"upon a better foundation of credit than usually such 
discourses are founded upon." Other versions of the 
mysterious affair were published some few years after 
the Duke of Buckingham's murder ; and although the 
discrepancies in them have never been explained, still 
there has been a sufficient similarity in the leading 


features of the narratives to cause most people to 
imagine that they were all derived from one source. 
But this does not necessarily follow. If the apparition 
appeared to different people and at different times a d 
it does not seem more wonderful that it should have 
manifested itself to two or more individuals than to one 
the variations in the tales told of its appearance are 
readily explicable. Lilly, the astrologer, notoriously 
published a false version of the story ; and it was for 
that reason only that Sir Edmund Wyndham, who was 
fully acquainted with the facts of the case, gave the 
narrative that ultimately passed into the hands of 
Aubrey, the antiquary, and by him is thus told : 

" To one, Mr. Towes, who had been school-fellow 
with Sir George Villiers, the father of the first Duke of 
Buckingham (and was his friend and neighbour), as he 
lay in his bed awake (and it was daylight), came into 
his chamber the phantom of his dear friend, Sir George 
Villiers. Said Mr. Towes to him, ' Why, you are dead, 
what make you here ? ' Said the knight, ' T am dead, 
but cannot rest in peace for the wickedness and abomi- 
nation of my son George, at Court. I do appear to 
you, to tell him of it, and to advise and dehort him 
from his evil ways.' Said Mr. Towes, * The Duke will 
not believe me, but will say that I am mad, or dote. 
Said Sir George, ' Go to him from me, and tell him by 
such a token (a mole) that he had in some secret place> 
which none but himself knew of.' According, Mr. 
Towes went to the Duke, who laughed at his message. 
At his return home, the phantom appeared again, and 


told him that the Duke would be stabbed a quarter of a 
year after ; ' and the warning which you will have of 
your death, will be, that your nose will fall a bleeding.' 
All which accordingly fell out so. 

" This account I have had in the main," says 
Aubrey, " from two or three ; but Sir William Dugdale 
affirms what I have here taken from him to be true, and 
that the apparition told him of several things to come, 
which proved true, e.g. of a prisoner in the Tower that 
shall be honourably delivered. This Mr. Towes had so 
often the ghost of his old friend appear to him, that it 
was not at all terrible to him. He was Surveyor of the 
Works at Windsor, by the favour of the Duke. Being 
then (i.e. at that time) sitting in the hall, he cried out, 
' The Duke of Buckingham is stabbed ! ' He was stabbed 
that very moment." 

" This relation Sir William Dugdale had from Mr. 
Pine, neighbour to Mr. Towes ; they were sworn 
brothers." Sir Edmund Wyndham married the daughter 
of Mr. Pine, and possessed a large roll of manuscript 
wherein Mr. Towes had recorded the particulars of his 
conferences with the apparition. 


Many of our haunted houses are indebted to ancient 
feud3, in which their owners suffered or inflicted murder, 
for their present troubles. Scotland especially has 


reaped a crop of ghostly legends and terrifying tradi- 
tions from the homicidal tendencies of its former 
notables. The apparition of Lady Hamilton, of Both- 
wellhaugh, is an enduring monument of the blood- 
thirsty spirit of the age in which she lived. Her 
husband, Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh, exists in history 
as the barbarous murderer of the Regent Murray, whom 
he shot as he passed through Linlithgow on the 23rd 
of January 1569 ; bat if any man can be excused for 
such a crime as assassination, it must be pleaded that 
Bothwellhaugh is he. Whilst Hamilton was from 
home, a favourite of the Regent seized his house and, 
in a cold night, turned out his wife, Lady Bothwell, 
naked into the open fields, where before next morning 
she became furiously mad. Her infant, it would seem, 
also perished either by cold, neglect, or, more probably, 
murder. The ruins of the mansion of Woodhouslee, 
whence Lady Bothwell was expelled in the brutal 
manner which occasioned her insanity and death, are 
still to be seen, or were some few years since, in a 
hollow glen beside the river Esk. Popular report 
tenants these ruius with the unfortunate lady's ghost ; 
and so tenacious is this spectre of its rights, that, a part 
of the stones of the ancient edifice having been employed 
in building or repairing the present mansion, the 
apparition has deemed it one of her privileges to haunt 
that house also. But a very few years since this 
apparition of Lady Bothwell, who always appears in 
white, and with her child in her arms, excited no slight 
disturbance and terror among the domestics at the new 


Woodhouselee, which is situated on the slope of the 
Pentland Hills, distant at least four miles from the 
ancient dwelling. Whether this apparition still haunts 
either old or new mansion we have been unable to 


In March, 1880, a communication was handed to the 
editor of Notes and Queries by a well-known contributor 
of that invaluable publication. The narrative it con- 
tained was headed, " Ghost or Nightmare ? " clearly an 
incorrect title, if any credence is to be given to its 
author. The young lady who indited the communica- 
tion is described as intelligent, whilst " her hereditary 
acumen" is declared to be such as "precludes altogether 
the possibility of any self-deceit in regard to her own 
personal experiences, as narrated by herself. Moreover, 
as it is pointed out, hers is not the only evidence on 
the subject, as the reader will notice. The contributor 
to Notes and Queries remarks that it is " in the con- 
viction that this statement contains matter of un- 
questionable interest to every sort of thinker/' that 
it is submitted to the consideration of his readers. 
Evidently acquainted, not only with the fair communi- 
cator of the narrative, but also with the locality to 
which his friend refers, H.C.C. states that " the scene 
of the occurrences is an old mansion in the north of 


Yorkshire ; cosy and cheerful, though large, and lonely 
in point of site." 

The young lady's experiences in this haunted dwelling 
are thus graphically described : 

" What I am going to relate happened to myself 
while staying with some north-country cousins, last 
July, at their house in Yorkshire. I had spent a few 
days there in the summer of the previous year, but 
without then hearing or seeing anything out of the 
common. On my second visit, arriving early in the 
afternoon, I went out boating with some of the family, 
spent a very jolly evening, and finally went to bed, a 
little tired, perhaps, with the clay's work, but not the 
least nervous. I slept soundly until between three and 
four, just when the day was beginning to break. I 
had been awake for a short time when suddenly the 
door of my bed-room opened, and shut again rather 
quickly. I fancied it might be one of the servants, and 
called out, * Come in ! ' After a short time the door 
opened again, but no one came in at least, no one that 
I could see. Almost at the same time that the door 
opened for the second time, I was a little startled by 
the rustling of some curtains belonging to a hanging 
wardrobe, which stood by the side of the bed ; the 
rustling continued, and I was seized with a most un- 
comfortable feeling, not exactly of fright, but a strange, 
unearthly sensation that I was not alone. I had had 
that feeling for some minutes, when I saw at the foot of 
the bed a child, about seven or nine years old. The 
child seemed as if it were on the bed, and came glid- 


ing towards me as I lay. It was the figure of a little 
girl in her night-dress a little girl with dark hair and 
a very white face. I tried to speak to her, but could 
not. She came slowly on up to the top of the bed, 
and I then saw her face clearly. She seemed in great 
trouble; her hands were clasped and her eyes were 
turned up with a look of entreaty, an almost agonized 
look. Then, slowly unclasping her hands, she touched 
me on the shoulder. The hand felt icy cold, and while 
I strove to speak she was gone. I felt more frightened 
after the child was gone than before, and began to be 
very anxious for the time when the servant would make 
her appearance. Whether I slept again or not, I hardly 
know. But by the time the servant did come, I had 
almost persuaded myself that the whole affair was 
nothing but a very vivid nightmare. However, when I 
came down to breakfast, there were many remarks 
made about my not looking well it was observed that 
I was pale. In answer I told my cousins that I had 
had a most vivid nightmare, and I remarked if I was 
a believer in ghosts I should imagine I had seen one. 
Nothing more was said at the time upon this subject, 
except that my host, who was a doctor, observed that I 
had better not sleep in the room again, at any rate not 

" So the following night one of my cousins slept in 
the same room with me. Neither of us saw or heaid 
anything out of the way during that night or the early 
morning. That being the case, I persuaded myself that 
what I had seen had been only imagination, and much 



against everybody's expressed wish, I insisted the next 
night on sleeping in the room again, and alone. Accord- 
ingly, having retired again to the same room, I was 
kneeling down at the bed-side to say my prayers, when 
exactly the same dread as before came over me. The 
curtains of the wardrobe swayed about, and I had the 
same sensation as previously, that I was not alone. I 
felt too frightened to stir, when, luckily for me, one of 
my cousins came in for something which she had left. 
On looking at me she exclaimed, ' Have you seen any- 
thing ? ' I said * No,' but told her how I felt, and, 
without much persuasion being necessary, I left the room 
with her, and never returned to it. When my hostess 
learnt what had happened (as she did immediately) she 
told me I must not sleep in that room again, as the 
nightmare had made such an impression on me ; I 
should imagine (she said) all sorts of things and make 
myself quite ill. I went to another room, and during 
the rest of my visit (a week), I was not troubled by any 
reappearance of the little girl. 

" On leaving, my cousin, the eldest daughter of the 
doctor, went on a visit with me to the house of an uncle 
of mine in the same county. We stayed there for about 
a fortnight, and during that time the * little girl ' was 
alluded to only as my 'nightmare.' 

" In this I afterwards found there was a little reticence, 
for, just before leaving my uncle's, my cousin said to 
me, ' I must tell you something I have been longing to 
tell you ever since I left home. But my father desired 
me not to tell you, as, not being very strong, you might 

Yorkshire: hall. 291 

be too frightened. Your nightmare was not a nightmare 
at all, but the apparition of a little girl ! She then went 
on to tell me that this * little girl ' had been seen three 
times before, by three different members of the family ; 
but as this was some nine or ten years since, they had 
almost ceased to think anything about it until I related 
my experiences on the morning after the first night of 
my second visit. 

" My cousin further went on to tell me that her 
younger sister whilst in bed had one morning, about 
day-break, to her great surprise, seen a little girl with 
dark hair, standing with her back to her, looking out of 
the window. She took this figure for her little sister, 
and spoke to it. The child not replying, or moving 
from her position, she called out to it, 'It's no use 
standing like that; I know you. You can't play tricks 
with me.' On looking round, however, she saw that her 
little sister, the one she thought she was addressing, and 
who was sleeping with her, had not moved from the bed. 
Almost at the same time the child passed from the 

window into the room of her (my cousin's) sister A , 

and the latter, as she afterwards declared, distinctly saw 
the figure of a child with dark hair standing by the side 
of a table in her room. She spoke to it, and it instantly 
disappeared. The ' little girl ' was subsequently again 
seen, for the last time before I saw it, by my cousin's 

father, Dr. H . It was in the early daylight of a 

summer's morning, and he was going up-stairs to his 
room, having just returned from a professional visit. 
On this occasion he saw the same child (he noticed its 

19 * 


dark hair) running up the stairs immediately before hira s 
until it reached his room and entered it. When he got 
into the room it was gone. 

" Thus the apparition has been seen three times by 
the family, and once by me. I am the only one, how- 
ever, that has seen its face. It has, also, never been 
seen twice in the same room by anyone else." 

No refutation, explanation, or continuation of this 
mysterious matter appears to have been attempted as 
yet by anyone. 





In the Life and Times of Lord Brougham, written by 
Himself and published in 1871, is given the following 
strange story, which shall be repeated in the autobiogra- 
pher's own words. " A most remarkable thing happened 
to me," records brougham, ,J so lemarkable, that I 
must tell the story from the beginning. After I left 

the High School (in Edinburgh), I went with G , 

my most intimate friend, to attend the classes in the 
University. There was no divinity class, but we fre- 
quently in our walks discussed and speculated upon 
many grave subjects, among others, on the immortality 
of the soul, and on a future state. This question and 
the possibility, I will not say of ghosts walking, but 
of the dead appearing to the living, were subjects of 
much speculation ; and we actually committed the folly 
of drawing up an agreement, written with our blood, to 
the effect that whichever of us died first should appear 
to the other, and thus solve any doubts we had enter- 
tained of the ' Life after Death.' 

"After we had finished classes at the College, G 

went to India, having got an appointment there in the 
Civil Service. He seldom wrote to me, and after the 


lapse of a few years, I had almost forgotten him ; 
moreover, his family having little connection with 
Edinburgh, I seldom saw or heard anything of 
them, or of him through them, so that all the old 
schoolboy intimacy had died out, and I had nearly for- 
gotten his existence. I had taken, as I have said, a warm 
bath ; and while in it and enjoying the comfort of the 
heat after the late freezing I had undergone, I turned 
my head round towards the chair on which I had depo- 
sited my clothes, as I was about to get out of the bath. 

On the chair sat G , looking calmly at me. How I 

got out of the bath I know not, but on recovering my 
senses I found myself sprawling on the floor. The ap- 
parition, or whatever it was that had taken the likeness 

of G , had disappeared. The vision produced such 

a shock, that I had no inclination to talk about it, or 
to speak about it even to Stuart; but the impression it 
made upon me was too vivid to be easily forgotten ; 
and so strongly was I affected by it, that I have here 
written down the whole history with the date 19th 
December, and all the particulars as they are now 
fresh before me, No doubt I had fallen asleep ; and 
that the appearance presented to my eyes was a dream, 
I cannot for a moment doubt, yet for years I had had 
no communication with G , nor had there been any- 
thing to recall him to my recollection ; nothing had 
taken place during our Swedish travels, either con- 
nected with G or with India, or with anything 

relating to him or to any member of his family. I 
recollected quickly enough our old discussion, and the 


bargain we had made. I could not discharge from my 

mind the impression that G must have died> and 

that his appearance to me was to be received by me as 
a proof of a future state." 

This was on December 19, 1799. In October 1862, 
Lord Brougham added as a postscript : 

"I have just been copying out from my journal the 
account of this strange dream : certissima mortis imago. 
And now to finish the story begun about sixty years 
since. Soon after my return to Edinburgh, there arrived 

a letter from India, announcing G 's death ! and 

stating that he had died on the 19th of December." 


Literature, ghostly literature especially, is replete 
with stories of the fulfilment by the dead of ante mortem 
promises. Abroad, the recorded instances of this mys- 
terious completion of the compact with the survivor 
are, apparently, more numerous than in the British 
Isles ; but we know of none described more circumstan- 
tially, and yet with more conventionality, than a case 
mentioned in Newton Crosland's new Theory of Appari- 

On the 30th January 1856, at the early age of thirty, 
died the Rev. Theodore Alois Buckley, author of The 
Dawnings of Genius, a work on the enrly lives of 
eminent m^ 1 and formerly one of the chaplains of 


Christ Church, Oxford. He was a man of extraordinary 
ability, but, says Mr. Orosland, " his life was unfor- 
tunate, and his death sad." When he was alive and 
well at Oxford, about the year 1850, conversing on 
the subject of ghosts one day with a mutual frieud, Mr. 
Kenneth R. H. Mackenzie, a gentleman who contributed 
the chapter on " Chatterton" to the above-mentioned 
work, the two friends entered into a compact that, who- 
ever departed this life first, should, if permitted, visit 
the other as an apparition ; and the signal of commu- 
nication was arranged to be the placing of a ghostly 
hand on the brow of the survivor. On the night of the 
2nd of February, about twelve or half-past twelve 
o'clock, Mr. Mackenzie was lying in bed, watching the 
candle expiring, preparing his mind for sleep, and not 
thinking of his departed friend, when he felt placed 
over one eye and his forehead a cool damp hand. On 
looking up he saw Buckley in his ordinary apparel, and 
with his portfolio under his arm, as in life, standing at 
the bedside. The figure, as soon as it was recognised, 
retreated to the window; and after remaining plainly in 
sight for about a minute, disappeared. A few nights after- 
wards, the spectral Buckley again made his appearance, 
bearing in his hand the exact image of a letter, which 
Mr. Mackenzie at once identified as an old one that he 
had casually picked up from his letter-box in the course 
of the day. The letter was one that had been formerly 
written by Mr. Buckley to his friend Mr. Mackenzie. 



In his account of " Apparitions," Aubrey relates some 
curious particulars of one that was believed to haunt 
Caisho Burroughs, eldest son of Sir John Burroughs; 
and if the antiquary's record, derived from his friend 
Monson, might be credited, it is one of the best 
authenticated stories of its class now extant. Sir John 
Burroughs, a high-spirited gentleman, who subse- 
quently perished in the ill-fated siege of Kochelle, 
being sent by Charles I. as envoy to the Emperor of 
Germany, took with him his son Caisho. Subse- 
quently Sir John made a tour through Italy, leaving 
Caisho at Florence to learn the language. 

Whilst residing in the Tuscan capital, young Bur- 
roughs fell passionately in love with a beautiful cour- 
tesan, a mistress of the Grand Duke. At last their 
intimacy became so notorious that it came to the 
Grand Duke's ears, and he, it is alleged, grew so 
jealous that he formed the design of having Caisho 
assassinated. Warned by some of the English residents 
in Florence of the fate awaiting him, the young man 
hastily left the city, without even acquainting his mis- 
tress of his intended departure. When the Grand Duke 
found himself baulked of his anticipated vengeance on 
his rival, he vented his spite on his mistress, " in most 
reproachful language," and she, on her side, "resenting 


the sudden departure of her gallant, of whom she was 
roost passionately enamoured, killed herself." 

At the very moment that the unfortunate woman 
expired in Florence, her apparition^ so it is alleged, 
appeared to her lover at his residence in London. 
Colonel Remeo, a Member of Parliament, and after- 
ward's an officer of Charles II. 's household, was sleeping 
with young Burroughs, and he, also, is said to have 
seen the apparition. This ghost, it is averred, re- 
proached her lover for his conduct in flying from her so 
suddenly, and leaving her exposed to the fury of the 
Grand Duke. She informed him of her tragical fate, 
and warned him that he should be slain in a duel. 

Henceforth this spectre frequently appeared to 
Caisho, even when his younger brother, after Sir 
John Burrough's death, was sleeping with him. As 
often as the apparition came, the unfortunate man, 
unable to restrain his mental anguish, " would cry out 
with great shrieking and trembling of his body, saying, 
1 O God ! here she comes she comes ! ' " These 
visitations continued from time to time until Caisho's 
death. He was killed in a duel, and the morning be- 
fore his death the apparition appeared to him for the last 
time. " Some of my acquaintances have told me," says 
Aubrey, " that he was one of the most beautiful men in 
England, and very valiant, but proud and bloodthirsty." 

The rumour of this haunting of Caisho Burroughs 
had spread so widely that it reached the King's ears. 
Charles I. was so interested in the account, Aubrey 
declares, that he cross-examined Sir John Burroughs, 


as also Colonel Keraeo, as to the truth of the matter, 
and. in consequence of tlieir report, thought it worth his 
while to send to Florence in order to make inquiries 
there. The result of the King's investigations in Tuscany 
was, the story states, that it was found that the unhappy 
woman had expired at the very time her apparition first 
appeared to her lover in London, when he was in bed 
with Colonel Remeo. Mi. Monson, Aubrey's authority 
for this marvellous account, was intimate with Sir John 
Burroughs and both his sons, and declared that when- 
ever Caisho alluded to the affair he wept bitterly. 


In Tsaak Walton's life of the well-known Dean of St. 
Paul's is a very strange family legend, that is none the 
less worthy of quotation that it has been so often told. 
According to the old piscatorial biographer, Dr. Donne 
and his wife were living at one time in the house of Sir 
Robert Drury, in Drury Lane. The Lord Haye being 
about to depart to the Court of Henry IV. of France, 
on an Embassy from James I. of England, Sir Robert 
Drury resolved to accompany him to the French Court, 
and to be present at his audience there. No sooner 
had Sir Robert formed this resolution, than he deter- 
mined Dr. Donne should be his companion on the 
journey. This desire having been made suddenly 


known to Mrs. Donne, "who was not only in very bad 
health, but also expecting her speedy confinement, she 
was so distressed, and protested so earnestly against her 
husband's departure, saying that she had a presentiment 
that some ill would occur in his absence, that finally the 
doctor laid aside all thoughts of his projected journey, 
and determined to stay at home. 

When Sir Eobert heard of this he exerted himself to 
the utmost to alter Dr. Donne's determination; and the 
doctor, fearing that after all the many benefits he had 
received from his friend, he should be deemed unthank- 
ful if he so persistently declined to accompany him, 
told his wife so ; who, therefore, with very great reluc- 
tance, at last gave way, and most unwillingly assented 
to her husband's departure. The visit was to last for 
two months, and was begun within a little while after 
Mrs. Donne's consent had been gained. 

The party reached Paris safely. Two days after their 
arrival there, Donne was left alone in the room where 
Sir Eobert and he, with some others, had dined. About 
half-an-hour after his departure, Sir Robert returned, 
and found Dr. Donne where he had left him, but in 
sucli a state of agitation, and so strangely altered in his 
looks, that he was perfectly amazed at him, and 
earnestly desired him to inform him what had hap- 
pened during the short space of time in which he had 
been left. At first Donne was not sufficiently collected 
to reply, but after a long and perplexed pause, 
answered : 

"I have seen a dreadful vision since I saw you. I 


have seen my dear wife pass twice by me through this 
room, with her hair hanging about her shoulders, and a 
dead child in her arms ; this I have seen since I saw 
you.' : 

To this Sir Robert responded : 

" Surely, Sir, you have slept since I saw yon, and 
this is the result of some melancholy dream, which I 
desire you to forget, for you are now awake." 

Dr. Donne's reply to this was : 

"I cannot be surer that I now live, than that I have- 
not slept since I saw you, and am sure that at her 
second appearing she stopped and looked me in the 
face and vanished." 

Nothing would alter Dr. Donne's opinion that he had 
had a vision, and the next day he was more than ever 
confirmed in his idea, affirming it with such a deliberate 
confidence that he finally persuaded Sir Robert that 
there must be some truth in the vision. Determined to 
learn the truth as speedily as possible, the knight sent 
a special messenger back to England, to learn how it 
fared with Mrs. Donne : whether still alive, and, if alive, 
in what state. On the twelfth day the messenger re- 
turned to Paris with the information that he had found 
and left Mrs. Donne very ill in bed, and that, after a 
long and dangerous confinement she had been delivered 
of a dead child; the date and hour of the child's birth 
having proved to have been, so it is alleged, identical 
with that at which Dr. Donne affirmed he had seen the 
apparition pass by him in the room. 



Of all the stories of apparitions extant, none, probably, 
has excited so much discussion as that of the Wynyard 
ghost. With variations of one kind and another it has 
been published in many dozens of works, and has been 
continually discussed at the mess dinners of our army 
in every part of the world. From time to time inquiries 
have been made about the circumstances in Notes and 
Queries, in the pages of which invaluable publication 
nil the facts of the case have been gradually revealed. 
From the periodical referred to, and from other sources 
of credit, we have been enabled to compile a complete 
history of the affair. 

In 1785, the 33rd Regiment, at the time commanded 
by Lieutenant-Colonel Forke, was stationed at Sydney, 
in the island of Cape Breton, off Nova Scotia. Among 
the officers of this regiment were Captain (afterwards 
Sir John) Sherbroke and Lieutenant (afterwards 
General) George Wynyard. These two young men are 
said to have been connected by similarity of tastes and 
studies, and to have spent together in literary occupa- 
tion much of that vacant time which was squandered bv 
their brother officers in those excesses of the table that, 
in those days at least, were deemed part of the accom- 
plishments of the military character. 

On the 15th of October of the above year, between 


eight and nine o'clock in the evening, these two officers 
were seated before the fire in Wynyard's parlour drink- 
ing coffee. It was a room in the new barracks, and 
had two doors, the one opening on an outer passage, 
the other into Wynyard's bed-room. There were no other 
means of entering the sitting-room but from the pas- 
sage, and no other egress from the bed-room but 
through the sitting-room ; so that any person passing 
into the bed-room must have remained there unless he 
returned by the way he entered. This point is of con- 
sequence to the story. 

As these two young officers were thus sitting toge- 
ther, Sherbroke, happening accidentally to glance towards 
the door that opened to the passage, observed a tall 
youth of about twenty years of age, but pale and very 
emaciated, standing beside it. Struck with the pre- 
sence of a perfect stranger, he immediately turned to 
his friend, who was sitting near him, and directed his 
attention to the guest who had thus strangely broken 
in upon their studies. As soon as Wynyard's eyes were 
turned towards the mysterious visitor his countenance 
became agitated. " I have heard/' said Sherbroke, 
" of a man's being as pale as death, but I never saw a 
living face assume the appearance of a corpse, except 
Wynyard's at that moment." As they looked silently 
at the form before them for Wynyard, who seemed to 
apprehend the import of the appearance, was deprived 
of the faculty of speech, and Sherbroke, perceiving the 
agitation of his friend, felt no inclination to address it 
as they looked silently on the figure, it proceeded 




slowly into the adjoining apartment, and in the act of 
passing them cast its eyes with an expression of some- 
what melancholy affection on young Wynyard. The 
oppression of this extraordinary presence was no 
sooner removed than Wynyard, seizing his friend by 
the arm, and drawing a deep breath, as if recovering 
from the suffocation of intense astonishment and emotion, 
muttered in a low and almost inaudible tone of voice, 
"Great God! my brother ! " "Your brother!" re- 
peated Sherbroke, " what can you mean, Wynyard ? 
There must be some deception. Follow me." And 
immediately taking his friend by the arm, he preceded 
him into the bed-room, which, as I before stated, was 
connected w T ith the sitting-room, and into which the 
strange visitor had evidently entered. I have already 
said that from this chamber there was no possibility of 
withdrawing, but by the way of the apartment through 
which the figure had certainly passed, and as certainly 
never had returned. Imagine, then, the astonishment 
of the young officers when, on finding themselves in 
the centre of the chamber, they perceived that the room 
was untenanted. Another officer, Lieutenant (afterwards 
Colonel) Ralph Gore, coming in, joined in the search,! 
but without avail. Wyuyard's mind had received an 
impression, at the first moment of his observing it, that 
the figure which he had seen was the spirit of his brother. 
Sherbroke still persevered in strenuously believing that 
some delusion had been practised. 

At the suggestion of Lieutenant Gore, they took note 
of the day and hour in which the event had happened,. 


but they resolved not to mention the occurrences in the 
regiment, and gradually they persuaded each other that 
they had been imposed upon by some artifice of their 
fellow officers, though they could neither account for 
the reason, or suspect the author, or conceive the means 
of its execution. They were content to imagine any- 
thing possible rather than admit the possibility of a 
supernatural appearance. But though they had at- 
tempted these stratagems of self-delusion, Wynyard 
could not help expressing his solicitude with respect to 
the safety of the brother whose apparition he had either 
seen or imagined himself to have seen ; and the anxiety 
which he exhibited for letters from England, and his 
frequent mention of his fears for his brother's health, at 
length awakened the curiosity of his comrades, and 
eventually betrayed him into a declaration of the cir- 
cumstances which he had in vain determined to 

The story of the silent and unbidden visitor was no 
sooner bruited abroad than the destiny of Wynyard's 
brother became an object of universal and painful 
interest to the officers of the regiment ; there were few 
who did not inquire for Wynyard's letters before they 
made any demand after their own, and the packets that 
arrived from England were welcomed with a more than 
usual eagerness, for they brought Hot only remem- 
brances from their friends at home, but promised to 
afford the clue to the mystery which had happened 
among themselves. By the first ships no intelligence 
relating to the story could have been received, for they 

20 * 


had all departed from England previously to the ap- 
pearance of the spirit. At length the long- wished- for 
vessel arrived. All the officers had letters except 
Wynyard. Still the secret was unexplained. They 
examined the several newspapers ; they contained no 
mention of any death, or of any other circumstance 
connected with his family that could account for the 
preternatural event. There was a solitary letter for 
Sherbroke, still unopened. The officers had received 
Iheir letters in the mess-room at the hour of supper. 
After Sherbroke had broken the seal of his last packet, 
and cast a glance on its contents, he beckoned his friend 
away from the company and departed from the room. 
All were silent. The suspense of the interest was now 
at its climax ; the impatience for the return of Sherbroke 
was inexpressible. They doubted not but that letter 
had contained the long-expected intelligence. At the 
interval of an hour Sherbroke joined them. No one 
dared be guilty of so great a rudeness as to inquire the 
nature of his correspondence ; but they waited, in mute 
attention, expecting that he would himself touch upon 
the subject. His mind was manifestly full of thoughts 
that pained, bewildered, and oppressed him. He drew 
near to the fire-place, and, leaning his head on the 
mantel-piece, after a pause of some moments, said iu 
a low voice to the person who was nearest to him, 
" Wynyard 's brother is no more!" The first line of 
Sherbroke's letter was, " Dear John, break to your 
friend, Wynyard, the death of his favourite brother." 
He had died on the day, nnd at the very hour, on which 


his friends had seen his spirit pass so mysteriously 
through the apartment. 

Some years after, on Sherbroke's return to England, 
lie was walking with two gentlemen in Piccadilly, when 
on the opposite side of the way, he saw a person 
bearing the most striking resemblance to the figure 
which had been disclosed to Wynyard and himself. His 
companions were acquainted with the story, and he 
instantly directed their attention to the gentleman oppo- 
site, as the individual who had contrived to enter and 
depart from Wynyard 's apartment without their being 
conscious of the means. Full of this impression, he 
immediately went over, and at once addressed the gentle- 
man ; he now fully expected to elucidate the mystery. 
He apologised for the interruption, but excused it by 
relating the occurrence which had induced him to the 
commission of this solecism in manners. The gentle 
man received him as a friend. He had never been out 
of the country, but he was another brother of the youth 
whose spirit had been seen. 

This story is related with several variations. It is 
sometimes told as having happened at Gibraltar, at 
others in England, at others in America. There are 
also differences with respect to the conclusion. Some 
say that the gentleman whom Sir John Sherbroke after- 
wards met in London, and addressed as the person 
whom he had previously seen in so mysterious a manner, 
was not another brother of General Wynyard, but a 
gentleman who bore a strong resemblance to the family. 
But, however, the leading facts in every account are the 



same. Sir John Sherbroke arid General Wynyard, two 
gentleman of veracity, were together present at the 
spiritual appearance of the brother of General Wynyard, 
the appearance took place at the moment of dissolution, 
and the countenance and form of the ghost's figure were 
so distinctly impressed upon the memory of Sir John 
Sherbroke, to whom the living man had been unknown, 
that, on accidentally meeting with his likeness, he per- 
ceived and acknowledged the resemblance. 

It maybe added that the brother of General Wynyard, 
who died on ; the 15th of October 1785, was John Otway 
Wynyard, af the time of his death lieutenant in the 
3rd Regiment of Foot Guards. 

Colonel Gore, being asked many years afterwards by 
Sir John Harvey to give an account of the affair, so far 
as it came within his cognizance, testified in writing to 
the main facts of the narrative here given ; and Sir John 
Sherbroke, forty years after the event, assured his 
friend, General Paul Anderson, in the most solemn 
manner, that he believed the appearance he had seen to 
have been a ghost or spirit, and this belief, he added, 
was shared by his friend Wynyard. 


The following startling relation was furnished to Robert 
Dale Owen by a clergyman of the Church of England, 
chaplain to a British legation abroad. Although the 



narrator's name is not given, Owen had the consent of 
the Rev. Doctor to communicate it in any case in which 
he might deem it would serve the cause to advance which 
his work, Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World, 
was written. It is not given now, for ohvious reasons, 
but the story is too characteristic to be omitted, and 
shall, therefore, be given as nearly as possible in the 
narrator's own terms : 

"In the year 185- I was staying, with my wife and 
children, at a favourite watering- place. In order to 
attend to some affairs of my own, I determined to leave 
my family there for three or four days. Accordingly, 
one day in August, I took the railway, and arrived in 

the evening, an unexpected guest, at Hall, the 

residence of a gentleman whose acquaintance I had re- 
cently made, and with whom my sister was then staying. 

" I arrived late ; soon afterwards went to bed, and 
before long fell asleep. Awaking after three or four 
hours, I was not surprised to find I could sleep no more ; 
for I never rest well in a strange bed. After trying, 
therefore, in vain again to induce sleep, I began to 
arrange my plans for the day. 

" I had been engaged some little time in this way, 
when I became suddenly sensible that there was a light 
in the room. Turning round, I distinctly perceived a 
female figure ; and what attracted my especial attention 
was, that the light by which I saw it emanated from 
itself. I watched the figure attentively. The features 
were not perceptible. After moving a little distance, it 
disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared. 


" My first thoughts were that there was some trick. 
I immediately got out of hed, struck a light, and found 
my bedroom-door still locked. I then carefully examined 
the walls, to ascertain if there were any other concealed 
means of entrance or exit ; but none could I find. I 
drew the curtains and opened the shutters ; but all 
outside was silent and dark, there being no moonlight. 

" After examining the room well in every part, I 
betook myself to bed and thought calmly over the whole 
matter. The final impression on my mind was that I 
had seen something supernatural, and, if supernatural, 
that it was in some way connected with my wife. What 
was the appearance ? What did it mean ? Would it 
have appeared to me if I had been asleep instead of 
awake ? These were questions very easy to ask and 
very difficult to answer. 

" Even if my room-door had been unlocked, or if there 
had been a concealed entrance to the room, a practical 
joke was out of the question. For, in the first place, I 
was not on such intimate terms with my host as to 
warrant such a liberty ; and, secondly, even if he had 
been inclined to sanction so questionable a proceeding, 
he was too unwell at the time to permit me for a moment 
to entertain such a supposition. 

" In doubt and uncertainty I passed the rest of the 
night ; and in the morning, descending early, I imme- 
diately told my sister what had occurred, describing to 
her accurately everything connected with the appearance 
I had witnessed. She seemed much struck with what 
I told her, and replied, * It is very odd ; for you have 


heard, I dare say, that a lady was, some years ago, 
murdered in this house ; but it was not in the room you 
slept in.' I answered that I had never heard anything 
of the kind, and was heginniug to make further inquiries 
about the murder, when I was interrupted by the entrance 
of our host and hostess, and afterwards by breakfast. 

" After breakfast I left without having had any oppor- 
tunity of renewing the conversation. But the whole 
affair had made upon me an impression which I sought 
in vain to shake off. The female figure was ever before 
my mind's eye, and I became fidgety and anxious about 
my wife. 'Could it in any way be connected with her? 
was my constantly recurring thought. So much did this 
weigh on my mind that, instead of attending to the busi- 
ness for the express purpose of transacting which I had 
left my family, I returned to them by the first train ; 
and it was only when I saw my wife and children in 
good health, and everything safe and well in my house- 
hold, that I felt satisfied that, whatever the nature of the 
appearance might have been, it was not connected with 
any evil to them. 

" On the Wednesday following 1 received a letter from 
my sister, in which she informed me that, since I left, 
she had ascertained that the murder was committed in 
the very room in which I had slept. She added that she 
purposed visiting us next day, and that she would like 
me to write out an account of what I had seen, together 
with a plan of the room, and that on that plan she wished 
me to mark the place of the appearance and of the 
disappearance of the figure. 


" This I immediately did ; and the next day, when my 
sister arrived, she asked me if I had complied with her 
request. I replied, pointing to the drawing-room table, 
'Yes; there is the account and the plan.' As she rose 
to examine it, I prevented her, saying, 'Do not look at 
it until you have told me all you have to say, because 
you might unintentionally colour your story by what 
you may read there.' 

"Thereupon she informed me that she had had the 
carpet taken up in the room I had occupied, and that 
the marks of blood from the murdered person were 
there, plainly visible, on a particular part of the floor. 
At my request she also then drew a plan of the room, 
and marked upon it the spots which still bore traces of 

"The two plans my sister's and mine were then 
compared, and we verified the most remarkable fact, 
that the places she had marked as the beginning and 
ending of the traces of blood, coincided exactly ivith 
the spots marked on my plan as those o?i which the 
female figure had appeared and disappeared. 

"I am unable to add anything to this plain statement 
of facts," remarks the narrator. " I cannot account in 
any way for what I saw. I am convinced no human 
being entered my chamber that night; yet I know that, 
being wide awake and in good health, I did distinctly 
see a female figure in my room. But if, as I must 
believe, it was a supernatural appearance, then I am un- 
able to suggest any reason why it should have appeared 
to me. I cannot tell whether, if I had not been in the 


room, or had been asleep at the time, that figure would 
equally have been there. As it was, it seemed con- 
nected with no warning nor presage. No misfortune of 
any kind happened then, or since, to me or mine, Tt 
is true that the host, at whose house I was staying, 
when this incident occurred, and also one of his chil- 
dren, died a few months afterwards; but I cannot pre- 
tend to make out any connection between either of these 
deaths and the appearance I witnessed. . . . But what I 
distinctly saw, that, and that only, I describe." 

It. is unfortunate that there is no evidence available 
as to whether this was the only appearance recorded of 
the apparition ; or whether it was known to have ever 
been seen before or after the night on which the nar- 
rator of the above account beheld it. 


In Dr. Lee's Glimpses of the Supernatural a collec- 
tion of ghost tales and revivified mediseval legends is 
given a marvellous narrative of the results of a curse, as, 
according to the reverend author, "fresh evidence of the 
existence of the supernatural amongst us, had we only 
eyes to see and ears to hear." We include the story in 
our collection as a fair specimen of the way in which 
such subjects are treated in our days, but must suggest 
that it would bear a greater air of vraisemhlance were 


the names of some at least of the persons introduced 
given, or some more definite clue to the localities 
afforded. The story, as told by Dr. Lee, is this : 

"The younger son of a Nova Scotia baronet, under 
promise of marriage, betrayed the only surviving daughter 
of a Northumbrian yeoman of ancient and respectable 
family, nearly allied to a peer, so created in William the 
Fourth's reign. She was a person of rare beauty and 
of considerable accomplishments, having received an 
education of a very superior character in Edinburgh. 
After her betrayal, she was deserted by her lover, who 
fled abroad. The night before he left, however, at her 
earnest request, he met her in company with a friend, 
with the avowed intention of promising marriage in the 
future, when his family, as he declared, might be less 
averse to it. 

" After events show that this was merely an empty 
promise, and that he had no intention of fulfilling it. 
A long discussion took place between the girl and her 
betrayer, in the presence of the female friend in 
question, a first cousin of her father. High words, 
strong phrases, and sharp upbraidings were uttered on 
both sides ; until at last the young man, in cruel and 
harsh language, turning upon her fiercely, declared that 
he would never marry her at all, and held himself, as 
he maintained, perfectly free to wed whom he should 

" * You will be my certain death,' she exclaimed, ' but 
death will be more welcome than life.' 

" l Die and be ,' he replied. 


" At this the girl, with a wail of agony, swooned 
away. On her recovery she seemed to gather up her 
strength to pronounce a curse upon him and his. She 
uttered it with deliberation, yet with wildness and 
bitterness, maintaining that she was his wife, and 
would haunt him to the day of his death ; declaring at 
the same time to her relation present, ' And you shall 
be the witness.' 

" He left the place of meeting without any recon- 
ciliation or kind word, and, it was believed, went 
abroad. In less than five months, in giving birth to 
her child, she died, away from her home, and was 
buried with it (for the child, soon after its baptism, 
died likewise) in a village church-yard near Ambleside. 
Neither stone nor memorial marks her grave. Her 
father, a widower, wounded to the quick by the loss of 
his only daughter, pined away and soon followed her to 
his last resting-place. 

"Five years had passed, and the female cousin of 
the old yeoman, being possessed of a competency, had 
gone to live in London, when, on a certain morning 
in the spring of the year 1842, she was passing by 
a church in the West End, where, from the number 
of carriages waiting, she saw that a marriage was 
being solemnized. She felt mysteriously and instinc- 
tively drawn to look in. On doing so, and pressing 
forwards towards the altar, she beheld, to her astonish- 
ment, the very man, somewhat altered and weather-worn, 
who had caused so much misery to her relations, being 
married (as on inquiring she discovered) to the daughter 


of a rich city merchant. This affected lier deeply, bring- 
ing back the saddest memories of the past. But, as the 
bridal party were passing out of the church, and she 
pushed forward to look, and be quite sure she had made 
no mistake, both herself and the bridegroom at one 
moment saw an apparition of her relation, the poor girl 
whom he had ruined, dressed in white, with flowing 
hair and a wild look, holding up in both hands her 
little infant. Both seemed perfectly natural in appear- 
ance and to be of ordinary flesh and blood. There was 
no mistaking her certain identity. This occurred in 
the full sunshine of noon, and under a heavy Palladian 
porch in the presence of a crowd. The bridegroom 
feurned deathly pale in a moment, trembled violently, 
and then, staggering, fell forward down the steps. This 
occasioned a vast stir and sensation among the crowd. 
It seemed incomprehensible. The bridegroom, said 
the church officials in answer to inquiries, was in a fit. 
He was carried down the steps and taken in the bridal 
carriage to his father-in-law's house. But it was re- 
ported that he never spoke again ; and this fact is 
mentioned in a contemporary newspaper account of the 
event. Anyhow, his marriage and death appeared in 
the same number of one of the daily papers. 

" And although the family of the city merchant 
knew nothing of the apparition, what is thus set forth 
was put on record by the lady in question, who knew 
the mysterious circumstances in all their details, which 
record is reasonably believed by her to afford at once a 
signal example of retributive justice ; **' niaikud 


piece of evidence of the supernatural. Names, for 
various reasons, are not mentioned here. The truth 
of this narrative, however, was affirmed on oath by the 
lady in question," why or wherefore Dr. Lee does not 
state, "before two justices of the peace at Windsor, on 
October 3rd- 1848, one of whom was a beneficed clerary- 
man in the diocese of Oxford, well known to the editor of 
this volume, to whom this record was given in the year 
1857 (when he was assistant minister of Berkley 
Chapel) by a lady of rank who worshipped there." 





Althorp, the magnificent Northamptonshire seat of 
Ear] Spencer, has been the residence of its proprietors 
from the " olden time," as Baker says, in his history of 
the county. The simplicity of its exterior is fully com- 
pensated by the attractions within : its magnificent 
library is one of the wonders of England, and its superb 
collection of paintings another. Since Althorp has 
been in possession of the Spencers it has been hon- 
oured by two royal visits; the first was paid by the Queen 
and the elder son of James the First, and the second 
by William the Third, in 1695, when a large gathering 



of the nobility and gentry of the county took place in 
honour of the event. 

That a residence of the antiquity and importance of 
Althorp should have a ghost is nothing unusual; if, 
indeed, it had several it need not be a matter of wonder, 
as such things go. The apparition which is connected 
with Earl Spencer's palatial dwelling, however, is not 
of the character one generally finds connected with 
places of that rank, nor are we aware that it habitually 
haunts the place, but it is so remarkable an instance of 
ghost-seeing, related to us on such good authority, that 
is well worth record here. 

Mr. (afterwards Archdeacon) Drury was invited by 
Lord and Lady Lyttleton to accompany them on a visit 
to Earl Spencer, the lady's father, then at Althorp. After 
dinner Mr. Drury and Lord Lyttleton amused them- 
selves with billiards, and continued so late at their game 
that at last one of the servants went to them to request 
that when they went to bed they would extinguish the 
lights themselves. He asked them to be very careful in 
doing so, as Lord Spencer was always uneasy about fire. 
Looking at their watches, they were amazed to find that 
it was past two, and both of them went to bed without 
further delay. 

Mr. Drury was awakened from his slumbers by the 
reflection of a light falling on his face; opening his 
eyes, he beheld at the foot of his bed a man dressed as 
a stable-man, in striped shirt and flat cap, and carrying 
a lantern with the bull's-eye turned full upon the dis- 
uirbud sleeper. 


" What do you want, my man ? Is the house on 
fire ? " exclaimed Mr. Drury ; but he received no reply, 
liis visitor remaining silent and immovable. 

" What do you mean by coming into a gentleman's 
room in the middle of the night? What business have 
you here?" he demanded, but, unable to elicit any 
response, became more imperious in his remarks, bidding 
the fellow be gone as an impudent scoundrel, whose 
conduct should be reported to his master. 

The figure then slowly lowered the lantern and passed 
into the dressing-room, from which there was no other 
means of exit than that bv which he had entered. 

" You won't be able to get out that way," Mr. Drury 
called out, and then, overcome by drowsiness, he 
dropped off to sleep again, without even waiting to see 
the result. 

Next morning Mr. Drury remarked to Lady Lyttleton 
that it was a very odd thing, but a stable-man had 
walked into his room in the middle of the night, and 
would not go away for some long time, adding, " I sup- 
pose the man was drunk, but he did not look so '* ; and 
he then proceeded to describe his dress and general 

Lady Lyttleton turned pale. : You have described," 
she said, " my father's favourite groom, who died a 
fortnight ago, and whose duty it was to go round the 
house after everyone had gone to bed, to see that the 
lights were extinguished, and with strict orders to enter 
any room where one was seen burning." 

Mr. Dairy's feelings may be imagined, and that he 



never slept in that room again alone will readily be 
assumed ; but whether he, or anyone else at Althorp, 
ever beheld the apparition of the dead groom again is 
another matter, about which we are unable to furnish 
any information. 


In a work styled News from the Invisible World, pur- 
porting to be a collection of remarkable narratives on 
"the certainty of supernatural visitations," by " T. 
Ottway," is given an account of certain marvellous 
occurrences which are stated to have taken place at 
" Ashley Park," Cheshire. .This Ashley Park would 
appear to be identical with Ashley Hall, and the " Man- 
nerings" of the narratives but another name for the 
Merediths, whose country seat the Hall once was. 
Ottway's account, which has been followed here, was 
derived from someone at Cambridge University, but his 
name and position are untold. 

Ashley Hall, it may be premised, is somewhat more 
than a mile south-east of Bowdon, and is pleasantly 
situated on the banks of the Bollen. According to the 
description given in Omerod's History oj Cheshire, the 
exterior is stuccoed, and finished with gables ; the in- 
terior contains an old entrance-hall, and a variety of 


apartments, more or less altered, but retaining, in 
general, an air of respectable antiquity. 

The story which I am about to relate, says our autho- 
rity, has reference to a subject often discussed and little 
understood the connection which exists between this 
shifting scene and the world of spirits. "It is of little 
import to the reader," the narrator opines, " whether I 
am a sceptic or a convert to the theory. It may be 
more material for him to be assured that he is troubled 
with the details on the authority of one whose fortitude 
I have often witnessed, and for whose veracity I could 
pledge my own. I give the story, as nearly as I can 
recollect, in her own words." 

"You know theMannerings of Cheshire, andremember 
their seat, Ashley Park. It was when I had just left 
school that I accompanied my intimate friend, Miss 
Mannering, on a visit to her mother at Ashley. Mrs. 
Mannering was a widow, blessed with an ample fortune 
and great animal spirits, who laughed, and ate, and 
talked, and played the kind hostess, and delighted in 
seeing everyone happy about her ; who thanked God 
that she had ' not a nerve in her body ' ; and hoped she 
should die as she had lived comfortably. The house 
was crowded with company, ana Mrs. M. made an 
apology for being obliged to assign to me, as my bed- 
chamber, the ' Cedar Room.' It was a large, fine, old 
apartment, wainscotted with cedar, and, from there being 
a door at each end of it, which led to different parts of 
the house, had, on high days and holidays, been used as 
an ante-chamber. There were no old pictures, no Gothic 


furniture, no tapestry, to predispose the imagination to 
superstitious feelings, or to foster in the mind melan- 
choly forebodings. 

" The windows were sashed the fire-place good, but 
neither Gothic nor over-large and the room itself, 
though of unusual dimensions, had the appearance of 
antiquity, unaccompanied by anything sombre. We had 
been dancing, and I went to bed in high spirits. It 
was between two and three in the morning, when I awoke 
with a start, and saw distinctly a female figure pass 
through my room. I enquired without fear who was 
there. There was no answer. The figure proceeded 
slowly onwards, and disappeared at the door. It struck 
me as being singular, but, knowing the house to be filled 
with company, and that the greater part were strangers 
to the endless labyrinth of staircase and ante-room which 
overrun the mansion, I concluded some heedless guest 
had mistaken my chamber, or that one of the servants, 
forgetting the circumstance of its being inhabited, had 
literally put it to its old use a passage-room. At all 
events, thought I, it will be cleared up at breakfast ; 
and without feeling any alarm, or attaching any impor- 
tance to the incident, I struck the hour by my watch, 
and fell asleep. The next morning I was somewhat 
startled by finding both the doors locked on the inside, 
and by recollecting with what care I had turned the key 
the preceding evening. The breakfast-bell, however, 
disturbed the train of my ruminations. I hurried hastily 
down-stairs, and thought no more on the subject. In 
the course of conversation, my kind hostess inquired 


how I had slept. ' Very soundly,' said I, ' except that 
I was rather surprised by someone who, no doubt by 
mistake, passed through my room at two this morning.' 
Mrs. Mannering looked earnestly at me, seemed on the point 
of asking me a question, checked herself, and turned away. 

" The next night I went to bed earlier, and, at nearly 
the same hour, the figure appeared. But there was no 
doubt now upon my mind. On this occasion I saw the 
face. Its pale countenance, its large, melancholy black 
eyes, its step noiseless as it glided over the oaken floor, 
gave me a sensation that I can never forget. Terrified as 
I was, I fixed my eyes on it. It stood before me then 
slowly receded ; when it reached the middle of the room, 
stopped and while I looked at it, was not. I own it 
affected me strangely. Sleep for the remainder of the 
night was impossible. And though I endeavoured to 
fortify my mind by recollecting all I had heard and read 
against the theory, to persuade myself that it was illu- 
sion, and that I should see no more of it, I half deter- 
mined to conclude my visit at once, or, at all events, tc 
change my room immediately. Morning came bright 
sunny morning and the race-ball of the morrow, and a 
dread of the ridicule which would follow my determina- 
tion, overpowered my resolution. I was silent, and I 

" The third night came. I confess, as the evening 
drew in, I shuddered at the idea of going to bed. I 
made excuses; I talked over the events of the night; 
I played; I sang ; I frittered away minute after minute ; 
and so well did my stratagem succeed, that two, thf 


dreaded hour, was past long ere I entered my room. I 
admit, that had I retired to rest, on the first evening of 
my visit at Ashley, with the impressions that, in spite of 
myself, forced themselves upon me in this, imagination 
might then have claimed a part in what I witnessed. 
But the feelings were wholly distinct. On the first 
night I had seen nothing knew nothing. On this, I 
was steeling my mind against the worst. 

"After a determined and minute investigation of 
the room, after a thorough examination of every closet 
and coruer, after barring and bolting each door with a 
beating heart, a woman's fears (shall I confess it ?) stole 
over me ; and, hastily flinging myself on the bed, I 
muffled up my face entirely in the clothes. After lying 
in this manner for two hours in a state of agony that 
baffles all description, I ventured to cast a hurried 
glance around the room. It must be, I thought, near 
daybreak. It was so ; but by my side stood the figure 
her form bent over me, her face so close to mine that 
I could have touchad it; her white drapery leaning 
over me, so that my slightest motion would have dis- 
composed it. I looked again, to convince myself that 
it was no deception, and have no recollection of any- 
thing further. 

" When I came to myself it was nearly noon. The 
servants and, indeed, Mrs. Mannering herself had re- 
peatedly knocked at the door, and, receiving no answer, 
were unwilling to disturb me. My kind hostess was 
alone in the breakfast-room when I entered, and was 
preparing to rally me on my early hours, when, evi- 


dently struck by my appearance, she inquired if I was 
well. 'Not particularly,' said I, faintly; ' and, if you 
will allow me, I return home this morning.' She 
looked at me in silence for some moments, and then 
said with emphasis, ' Have you any particular reason ? 
Nay, I am sure you have,' she continued, as her keen, 
penetrating eyes detected an involuntary tremor. ' I 
have no concealments/ was my reply, and immediately 
I detailed the whole transaction. She heard me gravely, 
without interruption, or expressing any surprise. ' I 
am grieved, beyond measure, my dear young friend, for 
the event; I certainly have heard strange and unac- 
countable stories about that room ; but I always 
treated them as idle tales, quite unworthy of credit. 
This is the first time for years it has been occupied, and 
I shall never cease to reproach myself for having tried 
the experiment. But, for God's sake ! ' she added, 
'don't mention it. Assure me, promise me, you will 
not breathe a syllable on the subject to any living being. 
If, among these ignorant and superstitious people, the 
inexplicable occurrence should once get wind, not a 
servant would stay with me.' I assented ; and on all 
her offers of a different room, pressing entreaties to 
remain, and promises of fresh arrangements, I put a 
decided negative. Home I returned that morning. 

" A long interval elapsed before I again visited 
Ashley. Miss Mannering, my kind and warm-hearted 
friend, had sunk into an early grave, and I had had, in 
the interim, to stem the torrent of affliction, and buffet 
with its waves. At length, a most pressing and per- 


sonal invitation brought me under Mrs. Mannering's 
roof. There I found her sister, who, with three young 
children, were laughing and revelling away their Christ- 
mas. Lady Pierrepoint was one of those fortunate 
women who, by dint of undaunted assurance, and, as 
Poor Eichard informed his friends, * an unparalleled 
tongue,' had contrived to have her own way through 
life. Her first exploit, on coming to Ashley, was to 
fix upon the cedar-room for the children. In vain poor 
Mrs. Mannering pointed out its faults. She 'was afraid 
they would find it cold.' Her ladyship ' wished them 
to be hardy.' 'It was out of the way.' ' So much the 
better ; their noise would not be troublesome.' l I fear 

' went on Mrs. Mannering. ' Don't know what it 

is,' said Lady Pierrepoint. ' In short,' she continued, 
with her imperturbable face, ' this room or none.' And 
Mrs. Mannering, not daring to avow the real cause of 
her fears, yet feeling that further contest was useless, 
saw, with feelings of horror, the little cribs and rocking 
horses, nurses and nine-pins, formally established in the 
dreaded apartment. 

" Things went on very smoothly for a fortnight. No 
complaints of the cedar-room transpired, and Mrs. 
Mannering was congratulating herself on the happy 
turn affairs had taken, when, one day, on her going into 
the nursery, she saw her little nephews busily engaged 
in packing up their playthings. ' What, are you tired 
of Ashley, and going to leave me?' ' Oh, no ; but we 
are going to hide away our toys from the White Lady. 
She came last night, and Sunday night. And she had 


such large black eyes, and she stood close by our cribs 
just here, aunt. Who is she, do you know ? for Fred 
says she never speaks. What does she do here, and 
what does she want ? ' 

" 'What a wretched, miserable woman I am!' cried 
the panic-stricken Mrs. Mannering. 'Every hope I had 
entertained of this abominable affair is dashed to the 
ground for ever ; and if, by any chance, Lady Pierre- 
point should discover Oh, they must be moved 

directly. Ring the bell ! Where's the housekeeper? 
I'll give no reason I '11 have no reason. Oh, Manner- 
ing ! to what sorrows have you not exposed your 
widow ! ' In spite of all inquiries, interrogatories, and 
surmises, moved the little Pierrepoints were that very 
evening. Our precautions, however, were all but de- 
feated ; for one of the little magpies began after dinner: 
1 Mamma, I 've something to tell you about the White 
Lady.' He was instantly crammed almost to suffoca- 
tion with sweetmeats. The rest were very shortly 
trundled out of the room, choking with bon-bons. And 
I shall never forget the piteous expression of Mrs. 
Mannering's countenance, as she passed me with her 
party, or her declaration : c God forgive me ! but I see 
very clearly this White Lady will put me in my grave.' 

" The room was then shut up for some years, and I 
can give no account of what passed at Ashley in the 
interim. The last time I was there was on the day on 
which young Mannering came of age. His mother had 
been receiving the loud and rustic, but not, on that 
account, the less sincere, congratulations of the tenants 


on the lawn, when she was told her more courtly visitors 
were awaiting her in the drawing-room. On this occa- 
sion the sins of the cedar-room were forgotten, and it 
was once more used as an ante-chamber. To enter it, 
throw off her shawl and bonnet, and run to a large 
swing-glass which stood near a window, was the work 
of an instant. She was hastily adjusting her dress, 
when she started, for she saw reflected at full length 
in the glass beside her the figure of the White Lady ! 

"It was days before the brain-fever, which her fright 
and her fall brought on, would allow her to give any 
connected account of what, til] then, appeared an in- 
explicable occurrence. Her reason and recollection 
gradually returned, but her health never. A few 
weeks afterwards she quitted Ashley Park for the 
grave ! " 


In an interesting paper on " Devonshire Ghosts," con- 
tributed by Miss Billington to Merry England, for 
August 1883 ; is an account of Bagley House, near 
Bridport, a well-known haunted building. About this 
old residence various ghostly legends have clustered, 
but Miss Billington refers mainly to a traditional 
Squire Lighte. This worthy was formerly owner of 


"He had been hunting one day," says our authority, 
u and after reaching home had gone away again and 
drowned himself. His groom had followed him with a 
presentiment that something was wrong, and arrived at 
the pond in time to see the end of the tragedy. As he 
returned, he was accosted by the spirit of his drowned 
master, which unhorsed him. He soon fell violently ill, 
and never recovered; one of the consequences of this 
illness being that his skin peeled entirely off! Shortly 
after Squire Lighte's suicide his whole house was 
troubled with noisy disturbances which were at once 
associated with the evil deed of self-destruction. It was 
suggested that the spirit should be formally and duly 
' laid ' or exorcised. A number of the clergy went, 
therefore, for that purpose, and succeeded in inducing 
the ghost to confine itself to a chimney in the house for 
a certain number of years ; it is not known exactly now 
for how long. 

" For many years after this, however, the place remained 
at peace ; but on the expiration of the power of the 
charm, very much worse disturbances broke out again. 
Raps would be heard at the front door; steps in the 
passage and on the stairs, doors opening and closing. 
The rustle of ladies dressed in silk was audible in the 
drawing-room, and from that room the sound was traced 
into a summer-house in the garden. The crockery 
would all be violentlv moved, and at certain rare 
intervals a male figure, dressed in old-fashioned costume, 
is said to have made itself visible and walked about the 
house. The neighbours say that these extraordinary 


occurrences continued for many years. They believe in 
them most firmly, and are of opinion that as long as the 
house stands it will be thus troubled." 


Berry Pomeroy Castle is situated in the midst of some 
of the most beautiful scenery of Devonshire. Its remains 
are very extensive and imposing, and attract many 
visitors from Torquay and neighbourhood. Artists are ' 
especially drawn to the place by its well-deserved I 
reputation for presenting eligible points of view for 
study. The ruin consists of a mass of late Tudor 
buildings, grouped around an inner court, and sur- 
rounded by an escarped bank of great height. There is 
but one approach ; a gateway with spaces for two port- 
cullises, and two flanking towers. The walls are clad 
with ivv ; and trees, almost as ancient as the castle 
itself, are scattered about the grounds. The picturesque 
beauty of the situation is heightened and completed by 
the river, which winds round the charming ruins. With 
this delightful spot a terrible tragedy is connected, the 
details of which have been given to us in some such 
words as these : 

Somewhat more than a century ago, Dr. Walter 
Farquhar, who was created a baronet in 1796, made a 
temporary sojourn in Torquay. This phvsician was 





quite a young man at that time and had not acquired 
the reputation which, after his settlement in London, pro- 
cured him the confidence and even friendship of royalty. 
One day, during his stay in Devon, he was summoned 
professionally to Berry Pomeroy Castle, a portion of which 
building was still occupied by a steward and his wife. 
The latter was seriously ill, and it was to see her that 
he had been called in. Previous to seeing his patient 
Dr. Farquhar was shown into an outer apartment and 
requested to remain there until she was prepared to see 
him. This apartment was large and ill-proportioned; 
around it ran richly-carved panels of oak that age had 
changed to the hue of ebony. The only light in the 
room was admitted through the chequered panes of a 
gorgeously-stained window, in which were emblazoned 
the arms of the former lords of Berry Pomeroy. In one 
corner, to the right of the wide fire-place, says the 
narrative attributed to the doctor, was a flight of dark 
oaken steps, forming part of a staircase leading appa- 
rently to some chamber above ; and on these stairs the 
fading gleams of summer's twilight shone through. 

While Dr. Farquhar wondered, and, if the truth be 
told, chafed at the delay which had been interposed 
between him and his patient, the door opened, and a 
female somewhat richly dressed entered the apartment. 
He, supposing her to be one of the family, advanced to 
meet her. Unheeding him she crossed the room with a 
hurried step, wringing her hands, and exhibiting by her 
motions the deepest distress. When she reached the 
foot of the stairs, she paused for an instant, and then 


began to ascend them with the same hasty step and 
agitated demeanour. As she reached the highest stair 
the light fell strongly on her features, and displayed 
a countenance, youthful, indeed, and beautiful, but in 
which vice and despair strove for mastery. " If ever 
human face," to use the doctor's own words, " exhibited 
agony and remorse ; if ever eye, that index of the soul, 
portrayed anguish uncheered by hope, and suffering 
without interval ; if ever features betrayed that within 
the wearer's bosom there dwelt a hell, those features and 
that being were then present to me." 

Before he could make up his mind on the nature of 
this strange occurrence, he was summoned to the bed- 
side of his patient. He found the lady so ill as to 
require his undivided attention, and had no opportunity, 
and in fact no wish, to ask any questions which bore on 
a different subject to her illness. 

But on the following morning, when he repeated his 
visit, and found the sufferer materially better, he com- 
municated what he had witnessed to the husband, and 
expressed a wish for some explanation. The steward's 
countenance fell during the physician's narrative, and 
at its close he mournfully ejaculated: 
" My poor wife ! my poor wife ! " 
" Why, how does this relation affect her ? " 
" Much, much ! " replied the steward, vehemently. 
" That it should have come to this ! I cannot cannot 
lose her ! You know not," he continued in a milder 
tone, " the strange, sad history ; and and his lordship 
is extremely averse to any allusion being ever made to 

Berry pomeroy castle. 339 

tne circumstance, or any importance attached to it; bat 
I must and will out with it ! The figure which you saw- 
is supposed to represent the daughter of a former baron 
of Berry Pomeroy, who bore a child to her own father. 
In that chamber above us the fruit of their incestuous 
intercourse was strangled by its guilty mother; and 
whenever death is about to visit the inmates of the 
castle she is seen wending her way to the scene of her 
crimes with the frenzied gestures you describe. The 
day my son was drowned she was observed; and now my 
wife ! " 

"I assure you she is better. The most alarming 
symptoms have given way, and all immediate dancrer is 
at an end." 

" I have lived in and near the castle thirty years/' 
was the steward's desponding reply, " and never knew 
the omen fail." 

" Arguments on omens are absurd," said the doctor, 
rising to take his leave. " A few days, however, will, 

I trust, verify my prognostics, and see Mrs. S 


They parted mutually dissatisfied. The lady died at 

Many years intervened and brought with them many 
changes. The doctor rose rapidly and deservedly into 
repute; became the favourite physician and even per- 
sonal friend of the Prince Kegent, was created a baronet, 
and ranked among the highest authorities in the medical 

When he was at the zenith of his professional career, 


a lady called on him to consult him about her sister, 
whom she described as sinking, overcome, and heart- 
broken, by a supernatural appearance. 

" I am aware of the apparent absurdity of the details 
which I am about to give," she began, " but the case 
will be unintelligible to you, Sir Walter, without them. 
While residing at Torquay last summer, we drove over 
one morning to visit the splendid remains of Berry 
Pomeroy Castle. The steward was very ill at the time 
(he died, in fact, while we were going over the ruins), 
and there was some difficulty in getting the keys. While 
my brother and I went in search of them, my sister was 
xeit alone for a few moments in a large room on the 
ground-floor ; and while there most absurd fancy ! 
she has persuaded herself she saw a female enter and 
pass her in a state of indescribable distress. This 
spectre, I suppose I must call her, horribly alarmed 
her. Its features and gestures have made an impression, 
she says, which no time can efface. I am well aware of 
what you will say, that nothing can possibly be more 
preposterous. We have tried to rally her out of it, but 
the more heartily we laugh at her folly, the more 
agitated and excited does she become. In fact, I fear 
we have aggravated her disorder by the scorn with which 
we have treated it. For my own part, I am satisfied her 
impressions are erroneous, and arise entirely from a 
depraved state of the bodily organs. We wish for your 
?ninion ; and are most anxious you should visit her 
without delay/' 

'Madam, I will make a point of seeing your sister 


immediately; but it is no delusion. This I think it 
proper to state most positively, and previous to anv 
interview. I, myself, saw the same figure, under some- 
what similar circumstances, and ahout the same hour 
of the day ; and I should decidedly oppose any raillery 
or incredulity being expressed on the subject in your 
sister's presence." 

Sir Walter saw the young lady next day, and after 
being for a short time under his care she recovered. 

Our authority for th above account of how Berry 
Pomeroy Castle is haunted, derived it from Sir Walter 
Farquhar, who was a man even more noted for his 
probity and veracity than for his professional attain- 
ments, high as they were rated. The story has been 
told as nearly as possible in Sir Walter's own words. 


There is a certain old farmstead known as Bettiscombe, 
or Bettiscombe House, in a parish of the same name, 
about six miles from Bridport, in Dorsetshire. This 
ancient dwelling, which is still inhabited, is celebrated 
for the so-called "Screaming Skull' that it contains. 
There are various versions of the cause and conse- 
quences of the malign influence exercised by this relic 
of humanity. Mr. William Andrews, in his essay on 
Skull Superstitions, states that the peculiar superstition 
attachiug to the Bettiscombe skull is, " that if it be 




brought out of the house, the house itself would rock 
to its foundations, while the perpetrator of such an act 
of desecration would certainly die within the year. 

" Various changes of tenancy and furniture have been 
made" in the old homestead, says Mr. Andrews, "but 
the skull holds its place. It is not known when the 
* ghastly tenant ' first took up its abode in the place, 
but it has been there for a considerable period. The 
skull has been stated to be that of a negro ; and the 
legend was that it belonged to a faithful black servant 
of an early possessor of the property a Pinney, who, 
having lived abroad for some time, brought home this 
memento of his humble follower." 

The tradition related by Mr. Andrews, however, is 
far too simple and conventional to satisfy the cravings 
of the hunter after hauntings ; his premises are not 
tragic enough to account for such fearsome results; 
it is, therefore, comforting to learn that local legends 
impart a more gruesome aspect to the affair. It is 
needless to enter too closely into an investigation of the 
origin of the story : for most readers the following 
interesting account of a visit paid to the " screaming 
skull," will supply all that can be desired on the subject. 
In the August of 1883, Dr. Richard Garnett, of the 
British Museum, his daughter, and a friend, whilst stay- 
ing at Charmouth, about seven or eight miles from Bettis- 
combe, hearing reports about the skull and its strange 
performances, determined to pay it a visit. The result 
of their expedition is thus told by Miss Garnett : 

" One fine afternoon a party of three adventurous 


spirits started off, hoping to discover the skull and 
investigate its history. This much we knew, that the 
skull would only scream when it was buried, and so we 
hoped to get leave to inter it in the churchyard. 

" The village of Bettiscombe was at length reached, 
pr^i we found our way to the old farm-house, which 
stuud at the end of the village by itself. It had evi- 
dently been a manor-house, and a very handsome one 
too. We were admitted into a fine paved hall, and 
attempted ' to break the ice ' by asking for milk ; we 
then endeavoured to draw the good woman of the house 
into conversation by admiring the place and asking, in 
a guarded manner, respecting the famous skull. On 
this subject she was most reserved; she had only lately 
taken the farm-house, and had been obliged to take 
possession of the skull also ; but she did not wish us 
to suppose that she knew much about it, it was a veri- 
table ' skeleton in the closet' to her. After exercising 
great diplomacy we persuaded her to allow us a sight 
of it. We tramped up the fine old oak staircase till we 
reached the top of the house, when, opening a cupboard 
door, she showed us a steep winding staircase leading 
to the roof, and from one of the steps the skull sat 
grinning at us. We took it in our hands and examined 
it carefully ; it was very old and weather-beaten, and 
certainly human. The lower jaw was missing; the 
forehead very low and badly proportioned. One of 
our party, who was a medical student, examined it long 
and gravely, and then, after first telling the good woman 
that he was a doctor, pronounced it to be, in his opinion. 


the skul] of a negro. After this oracular utterance she 
resolved to make a clean breast of all she knew, which, 
however, did not amount to much. The skull, we were 
informed, was that of a negro servant, who had lived 
in the service of a Eoman Catholic priest ; some differ- 
ence arose between them, but whether the priest mur- 
dered the servant in order to conceal some crimes 
known to the negro ; or whether the negro, in a fit of 
passion, killed his master, did not clearly appear. How- 
ever, the negro had declared before his death that his 
spirit would not rest unless his body was taken to his 
native land and buried there. This was not done, he 
being buried in the churchyard at Bettiscombe. Then 
the haunting began : fearful screams proceeded from the 
grave ; the doors and windows of the house rattled and 
creaked ; strange sounds were heard all over the house ; 
in short, there was no rest for the inmates until the 
body was dug up. At different periods attempts were 
made to bury the body, but similar disturbances always 
recurred. In process of time the skeleton disappeared, 
all save the skull which we now saw before us. 

" We were naturally extremely anxious to bury the 
skull, and remain in the house that night to see what 
would happen; but this request was indignantly refused, 
and we were promptly shown off the premises." 

Therefore the reputation of "the Screaming Skull 
of Bettiscombe House remains unimpaired. 




Most accounts of haunted duellings are connected with, 
if, indeed, they are not derived from, some terrible 
tragedy. The legend of the old haunted house at 
Birchen Bower is, however, not without its comic ele- 
ment. As usual, gold is at the bottom of the story. 
Whatever amount of credence the reader may be willing 
to give to the sights and sounds declared to appertain 
to Birchen Bower, that some kind of hereditary trouble 
belongs to it can scarcely be denied, as the following 
particulars, derived chiefly from an article by Mr. James 
Dronsfield, in the Oldham Chronicle for 1869, will 
make manifest. 

About the latter end of July 1869, a body buried in 
Harpurhey Cemetery was declared to be that of old Miss 
Beswick, whose mummified corpse had long been ex- 
hibited as a curiosity in the Manchester Museum. For 
upwards of a century, so it was alleged, the rightful 
heirs of Birchen Bower, Kose Hill and Cheetwood 
Estates had been kept out of their property by a crafty 
stratagem, and the burial of the body of the so long 
deceased lady was to be the means of restoring to the 
family of the former owners their long-withheld domains. 

The ancient homestead of Birchen Bower, Hollin- 
wood, was a quaint four-gabled edifice, built in the form 
of a cross, and remarkable for the beauty of its summer 
surroundings. All of it, save the southern wing, was 
demolished some vears ago ; but the spirit or whatever 


else it may be termed, belonging to tbe residence, did 
not desert the spot when so much of its beauty and in- 
terest was destroyed. A large barn, that is still, or was 
recently, standing, and which bears the initials of the 
Beswick family engraved on it, with the date of 1728, 
but which appears to have been built much earlier, is 
the centre of quite a number of legends and superstitious 

Miss, or Madame Beswick, as she is often called, is 
the nucleus about which all these curious myths gather. 
Who she really was would seem to be somewhat un- 
certain, but tradition states that she lived at Bower 
House, and farmed the estate, until old age compelled 
her to retire to a little stone cottage which stood on the 
brink of the mill-stream that ripples through the sloping 
front garden. The old lady was said to be very wealthy, 
and when the rebels under Prince Charlie visited the 
neighbourhood in 1745, she was terribly afraid they 
would requisition her belongings, so secreted " vast 
sums of money and articles of value " about the pre- 
mises. The Scottish intruders did not carry the war 
into Miss Beswick's territory, but the relatives of the 
old lady could never afterwards induce her to reveal 
where the hidden treasures were. A few days before her 
death, it is said, she promised if they would carry her 
up to Bower House she would disclose the secret and 
point out w T here the gold was secreted, but they neglected 
the opportunity. She became suddenly worse, and died, 
leaving the whole affair enveloped in mystery. 

Here was, indeed, a capital foundation for a ghost 


story! But better material lurks behind. A hundred 
years passed away, and the body of Miss Beswick was 
not buried ! Why this interment was so long deferred 
has been variously stated, but the following account 
would appear to embody the most popular, if not, in- 
deed, the most historical elements of the case. A bro- 
ther of Miss Beswick was supposed o have been 
considered dead, but just before the coffin-lid was 
screwed down signs of animation were noticed ; restora- 
tives were applied, and, after having been in a trance for 
several days, he revived, and lived for many years after. 
This circumstance is supposed to have made so intense 
an impression upon the mind of Miss Beswick, that she 
left her estates to Dr. White, her medical attendant, to 
be held by him as long as her body was kept above 
ground. The doctor embalmed the body, and thus was 
enabled to keep it unburied, and so withhold the pro- 
perty from the long-expectant descendants of the 
Beswick family. 

Whatever may be fact and what fiction about this 
tradition is not in our power to say, but the following 
extract from the Manchester Guardian of Saturday, 
August 15 th, 1868, is certainly confirmatory of some 
portions of the popular account : 

"A Curious Interment. On the 22nd of July 
were committed to the earth in the Harpurhey Cemetery 
the remains of Miss Beswick, removed from the Peter 
Street Museum. There is a tradition that this lady, 
who is supposed to have died about one hundred years 
ago, had acquired so strong a fear of being buried alive 


that she left certain property to her (medical?) attendant, 
so long (so the story runs) as she should be kept above 
ground. The doctor seems to have embalmed the body 
with tar, and then swathed it with a strong bandage, 
leaving the face exposed, and to have kept ' her' out of 
the grave as long as he could. For many years past the 
mummy has been lodged in the rooms of the Manchester 
Natural History Society, where it has long been an 
object of much popular interest. It seems that the 
Commissioners, who are charged with the re- arrange- 
ment of the Society's collections, have deemed this 
specimen undesirable, and have at last buried it." 

One of the curious arrangements tradition asserts 
Miss Beswick bargained for was that every twenty-one 
years her body should be brought to Birchen Bower and 
remain there for one week, and old folks who should 
know about it declare the body was taken there at 
the stipulated times, and put in the granary of the old 
farmstead. Thus far, nothing beyond the eccentricity 
of humanity has been cited, but the eccentricities of a 
supernatural being have now to be referred to. In the 
morning, state these authorities, when the corpse was 
fetched, the horses and cows were always found let 
loose, and sometimes a cow would be found up in the 
hay-loft, although how it came there was, indeed, a 
mystery, as there was no passage large enough to admit 
a beast of such magnitude. The last prank of this 
description played by Miss Beswick, so far as our infor- 
mation goes, was a few years ago, when a cow belonging 
to the farmer then tenanting the place was found on the 


hay-loft, and it was the firm belief of many thereabouts 
that supernatural agency had been employed to place it 
there. What made it particularly ominous was the fact 
that it was the fourteenth anniversary of seven years 
since Miss Beswick died, and it was a well-established 
fact that something supernatural happened or was seen 
at the expiration of every seven years at Birchen Bower. 
How the cow was got up was a mystery to everyone, whilst 
that blocks had to be borrowed from Bower Mill to let 
it down through the hay-hole outside the barn was an 
equally well known fact. 

After Miss Beswick's death, her old house was divided 
into several dwellings, and many strange stories are rife 
of the marvellous things therein seen and heard. One 
family had grown so familiar with the apparition of the 
old lady in the silken gowu that they were in no way 
alarmed when she appeared. Sometimes when they were 
seated at supper a rustling of silk would be heard at the 
front entrance, and presently a lady arrayed in black 
silk would glide through the room, walk straight into 
the parlour, and then disappear at one particular flag- 
stone. It was a harmless spirit, annoying no one, and 
her appearance never drew forth any further remarks 
from the family than " Hush ! the old lady comes 
again." In another part of the dwelling an inmate had 
a treadle-lathe for wood-turning, which he used after his 
day's work was over in doing petty jobs of joinery for 
the neighbours. Sometimes when he went into his little 
work-room an invisible visitor would be working away 
with the lathe in full motion. 


It is now about eighty-five years since the almost 
forgotten " Barley Times " made sad oppression amongst 
the poor people of this country. Protection had nearly 
ruined the nation ; flour was at a fearful price, and 
good bread scarcely obtainable. As a body the hand- 
loom weavers were starving for want of food ; but one 
of them, " Joe at Tamer's," made such large purchases 
and seemed so flush of money that everybody was 
puzzled. It was well known that Joe had a large family 
of small children, who were supposed to depend for 
their daily bread upon his labours with the shuttle, and 
yet it was clear that they were stinted neither in food 
nor clothing. Joe lived in one wing of Birchen Bower 
house, and it was whispered that he had found the gold 
which had been hidden by "Madame" Beswick. Years 
passed away before the source of Joe's wealth was dis- 
covered ; but eventually he confessed that he had pulled 
up the floor of the haunted parlour, intending to put up 
a loom for one of his children to learn to weave, and 
in digging the treadle-hole he had found a tin vessel 
filled with gold wedges, each valued at three pounds 
ten shillings. He never mentioned the circumstance 
to anyone at the time, but took his find to Oliphant's, 
in St. Anne's Square, Manchester, and got it changed 
into current coin. People were still living a few years 
ago who knew "Joe at Tamer's," and the tin vessel in 
which he found the gold is said to be still preserved by 
his descendants. 

It was thought that the discovery of her hidden trea- 
sure would break the snell, and that Madame Beswick's 


troubled spirit would now rest; but this is not the case. 
Some few years ago she was seen near the old well by 
the brook-side, when a presumed heir of the estates 
was pressing his claim. A rustic was goiug to fetch a 
pail of water ; but when he got to the well he beheld a 
tall lady standing by it, wearing a black silk gown and 
a white cap with a frilled border of those stiff, old- 
fashioned puffs which were formerly worn. She stood 
there in the dusk, in a defiant or threatening attitude, 
streams of blue light seeming to dart from her eyes and 
flash on the horror-stricken man. This appearance of 
the lady's apparition was considered as a token that she 
would get no rest until the estates had reverted to the 
real heir. In light of the hitherto want of success of 
the Beswicks to regain the property, notwithstanding 
their frequent efforts, the old lady's spirit appears 
doomed for a very lengthy and uncertain space of time 
to walk the earth. 

Madame Beswick, indeed, still haunts the old neigh- 
bourhood ; on clear, moonlight nights she walks in 
a headless state between the old barn and the horse- 
pool, and at other times assumes the forms of different 
animals, but is always lost sight of near the horsepool : 
this causes some folk to fancy that she concealed 
something there during the Scottish invasion, which she 
is now desirous of pointing out to anyone courageous 
enough to speak to her. 

On dark and dreary winter nights the barn, it is said, 
appears to be on fire ; a red glare of glowing heat being 
observable through the loop-holes and crevices of the 


building, and strange, unearthly noises proceed from it, as 
if Satan and all his imps were holding jubilee there. 
Sometimes, indeed, the sight is so threatening that the 
neighbours will raise an alarm and knock up the farmer 
and tell him the barn is in flames. When the premises 
are searched, however, nothing is found wrong, every- 
thing is in order, and the neighbours go terror-stricken 
home, fully convinced that they have witnessed another 
of Madame Beswick's supernatural pranks 


The belief in headless spectres of not only human, but 
equine and canine beings is very widely spread through- 
out England, as readers of Charles Hardwick's Tradi- 
tions, and other kindred works, are well aware. In the 
western counties the myth is frequently localised, as at 
Plymouth, where Sir Francis Drake has been seen 
driving a hearse drawn by headless horses, and followed 
by a pack of headless hounds. In Cornwall such appa- 
ritions are quite common, one of the most noted being 
that told of by the Rev. Thistleton Dyer in One and All. 
The Rev. Richard Dodge, early in the last century, 
vicar of Talland, near Looe, in Cornwall, like several 
other Cornish clergymen, was very eccentric. His 
singularities impressed the surrounding peasantry with 
a great awe of him, and to meet him on the highway 


after dark inspired, it is averred, the utmost consterna- 
tion and terror. At that lonesome time he was believed 
to drive along the evil spirits, some of whom were 
visible in various sorts of shapes, and pursue them with 
his whip in a most audacious manner. Not unfre- 
quently, too, he would be seen in the churchyard at 
midnight, to the great horror of passers-by. As an 
exorcist Mr. Dodge had a great reputation ; he was 
supposed to be deeply versed in the black art, and able, 
not only to raise ghosts, but to " lay" them in the Red 
Sea, or other convenient resting-place, by a nod of his 
head. A truly useful clergyman for the time and 
locality, although, indeed, his fame was not confined te 
his own parish nor limited to the age in which he 

One day a messenger arrived at his house with a note 
from Mr. Mills, Rector of Lanreath, to this effect : 
" On divers occasions has the labourer, returning from 
his work across the moor, been frightened nigh into 
lunacy by sounds and sights of a very dreadful character. 
The appearance is said to be that of a man, habited in 
black, driving a carriage drawn by headless horses. 
My present business is to ask your assistance in this 
matter, either to reassure the minds of the country 
people if it only be a simple terror, or, if there be any 
truth in it, to set the troubled spirit of the man at 

This was quite sufficient to put a man of Mr. Dodge's 
temperament upon his mettle. The next night, accom- 
panied by Mr. Mills, he set out to visit the haunted 


locality; but, although the night "was dark and murky, 
they could catch no glimpse of the ghostly driver, and 
only hear the occasional howling of dogs belonging to 
distant farm-houses, or else the melancholy wailing oi 
the wind, as it soughed across the moor. After some 
long time the clergymen became wearied of waiting, and 
decided that it was useless to watch any longer then, but 
they agreed to meet again some other night in hopes of 
meeting the spectre. 

They separated, Mr. Dodge for the vicarage at Tal- 
land, and Mr. Mills for his rectory at Lanreath. Mr. 
Dodge had not proceeded far before his steed became 
excessively restive, and, although he applied whip and 
spur, the beast grew most uneasy, pricked up its ears, 
snorted, and swerved from side to side of the road, as if 
something stood in the path before it. This continued 
for some time, until Mr. Dodge, thinking it dangerous 
to attempt to pursue his journey, threw the reins on the 
neck of the horse, when it immediately started back 
towards the moor, and, with immense rapidity, carried 
him to the spot where he had parted from his com- 
panion. On nearing this place, the horse seemed seized 
with incontrollable fury ; and the vicar was horrified to 
behold Mr. Mills prostrate on the ground, and by bis 
side, the much-dreaded spectre of the black coach and 
the headless horses ! 

Jumping down to the assistance of his insensible 
friend, Mr. Dodge raised his lips in prayer, when, in- 
stantly, the spectre screamed, " Dodge is come ! I must 
be gone ! " and leaped into its chariot, whipping furi- 


ously the headless horses, and vanishing into the dark- 
ness of the night. The rector's horse, which had taken 
flight on beholding its own headless kith and kin, 
galloped off homewards at a terrible rate. The sound 
of its hoofs, as it dashed madly through the quiet 
little village, aroused the cottagers, who, deeming their 
clergyman had been thrown and, perhaps, killed, turned 
out in a body to seek for him. On arriving at Blacka- 
don, they discovered their rector, supported by Mr. 
Dodge, but in an insensible condition. They escorted 
him home, and, in a few days, much to the satisfaction 
of everybody, he recovered completely from the ill effects 
of his severe fright and fall. Curious to relate, from 
that time, nothing has been seen or heard of this 
ghost and its headless horses driving over that moor. 


Black Heddon, a quiet village near Stamfordham, in 
Northumberland, acquired an unenviable notoriety some 
fifty years or so ago, on account of a troublesome 
spectre by which it was haunted. The supernatural 
being, whose pranks so disturbed this picturesque but 
secluded place, was known as " Silky," on account of 
its silken and rustling attire. It is a strange but by no 
means unparalleled circumstance, that spirits bearing 
the same name, and endowed with similar characteristics, 



have rendered untenantable the once famed manor- 
house of Chirton, as well as many other ancient English 
dwellings. Although Eicharclson, in his Table-Booh of 
Traditions, asserts that " Silky " has now disappeared 
from Black Heddou, and has ceased her manifold 
methods of annoying its inhabitants, this scarcely seems 
borne out by facts, if our information may be relied 
on. The tradition of her vagaries was too deeply im- 
pressed upon the locality to be quite eradicated in one 
generation or so. 

" Silky," although occasionally manifesting herself, 
or itself, in various shapes and ways, has a marked 
predilection for making herself visible in the semblance 
of a female dressed in silken attire. 

Many a time, when one of the more timorous of the 
community had a night journey to perform, has he, 
unawares and invisibly, been clogged and watched by 
this spectral tormentor, who, at the dreariest part of the 
road, the most suitable for thrilling surprises, would 
suddenly break forth in dazzling splendour. If the 
person happened to be on horseback, a sort of exer- 
cise for which " Silky" evinced a strong partiality, she 
would unexpectedly seat herself behind him, " rattling 
in her silks." Then, after the enjoyment of a comfort- 
able ride, with instantaneous abruptness, she would 
dissolve "into thin air," leaving the bewildered horse- 
man in blank amazement. 

At Belsay, two or three miles from Black Heddon, 
the spectre had a favourite resort. It was a romantic 
crag, finely studded with trees, under the gloomy shadov 


of which she loved to wander all the live-long night. 
Here often has the Delated peasant beheld her dimly 
through the sombre twilight, as if engaged in splitting 
great stones, or hewing, with many a stroke, some 
stately monarch of the grove. Whilst he thus stood 
and gazed, he would suddenly hear the howling of a 
resistless tempest rushing through the woodland, while 
to the eye not a leaf was seen to quiver, nor a spray 
to bend. 

The bottom of this crag is washed by a picturesque 
hike or fish-pond, at whose outlet is a waterfall, over 
which a venerable tree, sweeping its shadowy arms, 
adds to the impressiveness of the scene. Amid the 
complicated and contorted limbs of this tree " Silky " 
possessed a rude chair, where she was wont, in her 
moodier moments, to sit, rocked by the winds, enjoying 
the rustling of the storm through the woods, or the 
rush of the cascade during the pauses of the gale. 
This tree, so consecrated by the terrors of the vicinity, 
was carefully preserved through the care of the late 
proprietor, Sir Charles M. L. Monk, Bart.*, of Belsay 
Castle, and, though no longer tenanted by its ghostly 
visitant, it yet spreads majestically its time-hallowed 
canopy over the mysterious spot, and still, in memory of 
its spectral occupant, bears the name of " Silky's Seat/' 

" Silky '' exercised a marvellous influence over the brute 
creation. Horses which would appear to possess a 
discernment of spirits superior to man, at least are more 
sharp-sighted in the dark were in an extraordinary 
degree sensitive to her presence and control. Having 

23 * 


once perceived the effects of her power, she seems to 
have had a perverse pleasure in meddling with and 
arresting them in the midst of their lahours. When 
this misfortune occurred there was no ordinary remedy 
brute force could devise to make the restive beast resume 
the proper and intended direction. Expostulation, 
soothing, whipping, and kicking were all exerted in 
vain. The ultimate resource, unless it might be her 
whim to revoke the spell in the interim, was Witch-wood 
or Kowan tree, an antidote of unfailing efficacy in this 
as in all similar cases. 

One night, an unfortunate farm-servant was the 
selected victim of her mischievous frolics. He had to 
go to a colliery at some distance for coals, and it was 
late in the evening before he could return. i{ Silky" 
waylaid him at a bridge, henceforth called " Silky's 
Brig," lying a little to the south of Black Heddon, 
on the road between that place and Stamfordham. 
Just as he had arrived at the " height of that bad 
eminence " the keystone, horses and cart became fixed 
and immovable ; and in that melancholy plight might 
man and beast have continued, quaking, sweating, and 
paralysed, till morning light, had not a neighbouring 
servant come up opportunely to the rescue, carrying 
some of the potent Witch-wood with him. On the 
arrival of this seasonable aid the charm was effectually 
broken, and in a short time both man and coals reached 
home in safety. 

" Silky " was wayward and capricious, but at length 
her erratic course came to an end. She abruptly dis- 


appeared. It had been long surmised, by those who 
paid attention to the matter, that she was the troubled 
phnntom of some person who had died miserably, in 
consequence of being overtaken by mortal agony before 
she was able to disclose the whereabouts of a great 
treasure she was in possession of, and on that account 
could not lie still in her grave. About the period 
referred to, a domestic female servant, being alone in 
one of the rooms of a house at Black Heddon, was 
frightfully alarmed by the ceiling above suddenly giving 
way, and the dropping from it, with a prodigious clash, 
of something black, shapeless, and uncouth. The 
servant did not stop to scrutinize an object so hideous 
and startling, but fled to her mistress, screaming at the 
pitch of her voice, " The deevil 's in the house ! The 
deevil 's in the house ! He 's come through the ceil- 
ing ! " With this terrible announcement, the whole 
family were speedily convoked, and great was their 
consternation at the idea of the foe of mankind being 
amongst them in a visible form. In this appalling 
extremity, a considerable time elapsed before anyone 
could brace up courage to face " the enemy," or be 
prevailed on to go and inspect the cause of the alarm. 
At last the mistress, who happened to be the most stout- 
hearted, ventured into the room, when, instead of the 
personage on whose account such awful apprehensions 
were entertained, a great dog's skin lay on the floor, 
black and hideous enough forsooth, but filled with gold. 
The house where this occurred was, at the time, occu- 
pied by the Hepples, respectable yeomen of the place; 


their descendants were still the proprietors of it in 
1844, and, it is said, had acquired a very considerable 
sum from " Silky's" long hidden treasure. 

After this, " Silky " was neither seen nor heard, is 
the opinion of the narrator of the above circumstances. 
" Her destiny was accomplished, her spirit laid, and 
she now," according to this informant, "sleeps as peace- 
fully aud unperturbed as the degenerate and unenter- 
prising ghosts of more recent times." 


Grim, gaunt, and hoary, the fragmentary ruins of the 
ancient fortress of Blenkinsopp, stand as a shadowy 
semblance of the majestic strength which the castle 
wore in former ages. Upwards of five centuries have 
elapsed since this border stronghold was erected upon a 
commanding knoll on the western frontier of North- 
umberland, and naturally so antique a building has 
gathered about it a garment of tradition. The most 
noteworthy legend attached to Blenkinsopp, and one 
most devoutly believed in by the neighbouring peasantry, 
is that of "The White Lady," whose apparition has 
haunted the castle for centuries and even now appears 
from time to time. 

The legend which accounts for this long-existent 
phantom, this rival to "The White Lady of Skipsea/' 
is related with more or less minuteness by various 


historians; but in the following version, derived from 
Richardson's Table Book of Traditions, the more 
salient points of the story will be found. 

Bryan de Blenkinsopp, or <? Blenship " as the name 
is provincially contracted into, was gallant and brave ; 
in a private feud, a border raid, or on the battle-field, he 
was ever first. The mighty and brave ranked him 
rvs one of their number ; the harps of the minstrels 
sang his praises in numerous lays, whilst divers 
bright eyes looked fondly and favourably on the 
form of the dark and handsome warrior. But with all 
his good qualities, and they were many, Bryan de 
Blenkinsopp had a failing which ultimately wrecked his 
fortune. This failing was an inordinate love of wealth ; 
this vice he cherished in secret, and as earnestly though 
vainly sought to discard ; it grew with his growth and 
strengthened with his strength, and gnawed into his 
very soul. 

At the marriage of a brother warrior with a lady of 
high rank and fortune, amongst other health-drinkings 
was given that of Bryan de Blenkinsopp and his " ladye 
love." "Never/' said Bryan, "never shall that be 
until I meet with a lady possessed of a chest of gold 
heavier than ten of my strongest men can carry into my 
castle." This extraordinary announcement was received 
by the company in silence, but the many looks of sur- 
prise which were exchanged did not escape his jealous 
observation. Ashamed of having betrayed his secret 
thoughts, he quitted the place, and his country. 

After an absence of many years Sir Bryan returned, 


bringing with him not only a wife, but also a box of 
gold that took twelve of his strongest men to carry into 
the Castle. There was great feasting and rejoicing for 
many days for the lord's return, amongst friends and 
followers, and the fame of his wealth was spread far and 
wide. After a length of time it began to be whispered 
that the life of the rich baron was anything but a happy 
for he and his lady quarrelled continually; she, 
ETri the assistance of the followers who accompanied 
her, having secreted the chest of gold in some part of 
the castle, and refused to give it up to her lawful 
husband and master. Whom she was or whence she 
came was unknown; her followers spoke a foreign 
tongue, so nothing could be gleaned from them. Some 
folks even hinted that she was not a human being, but 
an imp of darkness sent with her wealth to ensnare Sir 
Bryan's soul. 

One day the young lord suddenly left the Castle, and 
went no one knew whither. His lady was inconsolable 
for her loss, and filled the whole castle with her lamen- 
tation. The vassals were despatched to all parts in order 
to discover whither he had fled, but without success. 
After searching in vain, and waiting for more than a 
year, she and her attendants started forth in search of 
the missing man. 

The fate of Bryan de Blenkinsopp and his wife is 
enveloped in mystery, and there is no hand to draw 
aside the impenetrable veil and show us if ever they met 
again, through what climes they wandered, or on what 
field he fell ! Certain it is that neither ever returned to 


Blenkinsopp. Tradition asserts that the lady, filled 
with remorse for her undutiful conduct towards her 
lord, cannot rest in her grave, but must needs wander 
back to the old castle and mourn over the chest of 
wealth the cursed cause of all their woe so uselesslv 
buried beneath the crumbling ruins. Here she must 
continue to wander until someone possessed of sufficient 
courage to follow her to the vault shall discover and 
remove the hidden treasure, and so give her perturbed 
spirit rest. 

The knowledge of this tradition naturally inclined 
the surrounding peasantry to regard the old castle with 
superstitious awe, and certain comparatively recent 
events have contributed, in no slight degree, to heighten 
the impression. The following curious circumstance 
was communicated to Richardson by Mr. W. Pattison, 
of Bishopwearmouth. 

More than thirty years ago, said this correspondent 
in an account written nearly forty years ago, there lived, 
in two of the more habitable apartments of the weather- 
beaten walls of the massive structure raised by Thomas 
de Blenkinsopp, a labourer of the estate, and his family. 
Both rooms appear to have been used as sleeping 
chambers, because, as we are informed, one night, after 
retiring to rest, the parents were alarmed by loud, 
reiterated screams, issuing from the adjoining apart- 
ment. Rushing in, they found one of their children, a 
boy, sitting up in bed, trembling, bathed in perspira- 
tion, and evidently in extreme terror. 

"The White Lady! the White Lady I" screamed 



the lad, holding his hands before his eyes as if to shut 
out some frightful object. 

. " What lady ? n cried the astonished parents, looting 
around the room, which, to all appearance, was entirely 
untenanted ; " there is no lady here." 

" She is gone/' replied the boy, " and she looked so 
angry at me because I would not go with her. She was 
a fine lady and she sat down on my bedside, and 
wrung her hands and cried sore ; then she kissed me and 
asked me to go with her, and she would make me a 
rich man, as she had buried a large box of gold, many 
hundred years since, down in the vault, and she would 
give it me, as she could not rest as long as it was there. 
When I told her I durst not go, she said she would 
carry me, and was lifting me up when I cried out and 
frightened her away." 

A tale so singular, and yet, to all appearance, narrated 
with fidelity, filled the old people with fear and astonish- 
ment. It was currently reported that the Castle was 
haunted by a white lady, although since their entrance 
into the dreary abode they had hitherto been undis- 
turbed. Persuading themselves that the child had been 
dreaming, they succeeded in quieting and getting him 
to sleep. The three following nights they were disturbed 
in the same manner the child repeating the same story, 
with little variation, when, after a little consideration, 
they removed him, and were no longer troubled with 
the spectre; yet, such was the terror with which it in- 
spired him, that he dared not enter into any part of the 
old castle alone, even in daylight. 


When the boy grew to manhood, although a sensible 
person, adds Mr. Pattison, he invariably persisted in the 
truth of his statement, and said that at forty years of 
age he could recall the scene so vividly as to make him 
shudder, as if still he felt her cold lips press his checks, 
and the death-like embrace of her wan arms. He was 
alive in 1805, and had become a settler in Canada. 

The belief that treasure lies buried in Blenkinsopp 
Castle was not a little strengthened, some years ago, by 
the arrival of a strange lady at the neighbouring village. 
She, it would appear, had dreamt that a large chest of 
gold lay buried in the castle vaults, and, although she had 
never seen it before, she instantly recognised the castle 
as the same she had seen in her dream. She staved 


several weeks, awaiting the return of the owner of the 
property to ask leave to search. She had, meanwhile, 
made the hostess of the inn her confidant, with strict 
injunctions not to divulge it to anyone. The landlady, 
unable to preserve so interesting a secret, appears to 
have told it to every person in the village, but always 
accompanied with a caution similar to that she had re- 
ceived herself: " Dinna ye be speaking on 't." Whether 
from the circumstances having acquired such publicity, 
or from reasons unknown to our informant, cannot be 
said, but, at any rate, the unknown lady suddenly de- 
parted, without, of course, having accomplished the 
purpose of her pilgrimage to Blenkinsopp. 

Up till 1820 some poor families continued to occupy 
a few of the more habitable rooms of the old castle, but 
even these are now ruinous and deserted. A few years 


ago, the occupier of the neighbouring farm gave orders 
for the vaults underneath the keep to be cleared out, for 
the purpose of wintering cattle therein. On removing 
the rubbish, a small doorway, level with the bottom of the 
keep, was discovered. On clearing out the entrance, 
the workmen were surprised by the appearance of a large 
swarm of meat-flies, and the place itself smelt damp 
and noisome. The news soon spread abroad that the 
entrance to the " Lady's Vault" had been discovered, 
and people flocked in great numbers to see it. Of the 
whole number assembled, however, but one man was 
found willing to enter. He described the passage as 
narrow, and not sufficiently high to admit of a man 
walking upright. He walked in a straightforward direc- 
tion for a few yards, then descended a flight of steps, 
after which he again proceeded in a straightforward 
course until he came to a doorway ; the door itself had 
fallen to pieces, the bolt was rusting in its fastening, 
and the hinges clung to the post with shaky hold. At 
this juncture the passage took a sudden turn, and a 
lengthened flight of precipitous steps presented them- 
selves. Opening his lantern, and turning the light, he 
peered down the stairs into the thick darkness, but, en- 
countering thick noxious vapours, his candle was ex- 
tinguished, and he was obliged to grope his way back to 
his companions. He made another attempt, but never 
descended the second flight of stairs; and so little curio- 
sity had their employer about the matter, that he ordered 
it to be closed up, and the contents of the vault remain 
undiscovered to this day, "When I saw the place/' records 

BOGNOS. 367 

Mr. Pattison, u some time after this adventure, the hole 
had been partially opened by some boys, who were 
amusing themselves with tossing stones therein, and 
listening to the hollow echoes as they rolled in the 
depths of the mysterious cavern." 


The number for August 10th, 1867, of All the Year 
Hound, contained the following very strange circumstan- 
tial narrative of a supernatural character. It purports 
to have been "taken down in shorthand from the lips 
of the narrator," and the transcriber is believed to have 
been Charles Dickens himself. The story is related as 
" a pendant to the paper which recently appeared in 
this journal headed 'Is it Possible?' (particulars of 
which will be found under the heading of " Hampton 
Court"); to which story a note was added by the editor, 
believed to have been, at that time, as also in this 
instance, Charles Dickens. 

This " simple narrative," as it is editorially described, 
is said to have been derived from a man getting on in 
years, " who, distrustful of all other people's experience 
verging on what we impertinently term the supernatural, 
scarcely even ventures to believe his own." "As a state 
ment at first hand," says the supposed transcriber, 
whose alleged transcription is evidently the work of an 
experienced litterateur. " as a statement at first hand of 

368 haunted homes. 

an appearance testified to by the narrator and corrobo- 
rated by his , wife, both living, it has seemed to me, 
while simply transcribing the notes, to possess an 
interest often wanting in more artistic stories of artificial 
manufacture." After these introductory words the 
tc transcriber " proceeds to give his story in the following 
terms : 

"My wife's sister, Mrs. M , was left a widow at 

the age of thirty-five, with two children, girls, of whom 
she was passionately fond. She carried on the draper's 
business at Bognor, established by her husband. Being 
still a very handsome woman, there were several suitors 
for her hand. The only favoured one amongst them 
was a Mr. Barton. My wife never liked this Mr. Bar- 
ton, and made no secret of her feelings to her sister, 
idiom she frequently told that Mr. Barton only wanted 
to be master of the little haberdashery shop in Bognor. 
He was a man in poor circumstances, and had no other 
motive in his proposal of marriage, so my wife thought, 
than to better himself, 

"On the 23rd of August, 1831, Mrs. M - arranged 
to go with Barton to a pic-nic party at Goodwood 
Park, the seat of the Duke of Richmond, who had kindly 
thrown open his grounds to the public for the day. My 
wife, a little annoyed at her going out with this man. 
told her she had much better remain at home to look 
after her children and attend to the business. Mrs. 

M , however, bent on going, made arrangements 

about leaving the shop, and got my wife to promise to 
ive to her little girls wliile she was away. 

BOGNOB, 869 

if 'Vhe party sot cut in a four-wheeled phaeton; will; 

fi pair of ponies driven by Mrs. M , and a g\<? for 

which I lent my horse. 

"Nov; we did not expect them to come back till nine 
or ten o'clock, at any rate. I mention this particularly 
to show that there could be no expectation of their 
earlier return in the mind of my wife, to account for 
what follows. 

" At six o'clock that bright summer's evening my 
wife went out into the garden to call the children. Not 
finding them, she went all round the place in her search 
till she came to the empty stable; thinking they might 
have run in there to play, she pushed open the door; 
there, standing in the darkest corner, she saw Mrs. 

M . My wife was surprised to see her, certainly ; 

for she did not expect her return so soon; but, oddly 
enough, it did not strike her as being singular to see her 
there. Vexed as she had felt with her all day for going, 
and rather glad, in her woman's way, to have something 
entirely different from the genuine casus belli to hang 
a retort upon, my wife said : ' Well, Harriet, I should 
have thought another dress would have done quite as 
well for your picnic as that best black silk you have 
on.' My wife was the elder of the twain, and had 
always assumed a little of the air of counsellor to her 
sister. Black silks were thought a great deal more of 
at that time than they are just now, and silk of any 
kind was held particularly inconsistent wear for Wes- 
leyan Methodists, to which denomination we belonged. 

"Receiving no answer, my wife said : * Oh, well, 


Harriet, if you can't take a word of reproof without 
being sulky, I '11 leave you to yourself;' and then she 
came into the house to tell me the party had returned, 
and that she had seen her sister in the stable, not in the 
best of tempers. At the moment it did not seem extra- 
ordinary to me that my wife should have met her sister 
in the stable. 

" I waited in-doors some time, expecting them to 

return my horse. Mrs. M was my neighbour, and, 

being always on most friendly terms, I wondered that 
none of the party had come in to tell us about the day's 
pleasure. I thought I would just run in and see how 
they had got on. To my great surprise the servant told 
me they had not returned. I began, then, to feel auxiety 
about the result. My wife, however, having seen 
Harriet in the stable, refused to believe the servant's 
assertion ; and said there was no doubt of their return, 
but that they had probably left word to say they were 
not come back, in order to offer a plausible excuse for 
taking a further drive, and detaining my horse for 
another hour or so. 

" At eleven o'clock Mr. Pinnock, my brother-in-law. 
who had been one of the party, came in, apparently 
much agitated. As soon as she saw him, and before he 
had time to speak, my wife seemed to know what he 
had to say. 

"'What is the matter?' she said; * something has 
happened to Harriet, I know ! ' 

" ' Yes,' replied Mr. Pinnock ; ' If you wish to see 
her alive you must come with me directly to Goodwood.' 

BOGNOB. 371 

" From what he said it appeared that one of the 
ponies had never been properly broken in; that the 
man from whom the turn-out was hired for the day had 

cautioned Mrs. M respecting it before they started; 

and that he had lent it reluctantly, being the only 
pony to match in the stable at the time, and would not 

have lent it at all had he not known Mrs. M to be 

a remarkably good whip. 

" On reaching Goodwood, it seems, the gentlemen 
of the party had got out, leaving the ladies to take a drive 
round the park in the phaeton. One or both of the 
ponies must then have taken fright at something in the 

road, for Mrs. M had scarcely taken the reins 

when the ponies shied. Had there been plenty of 
room she would readily have mastered the difficulty; 
but it was in a narrow road, where a gate obstructed 
the way. Some men rushed to open the gate too 
late. The three other ladies jumped out at the begin- 
ning of the accident; but Mrs. M still held on to 

the reins, seeking to control her ponies, until, finding 
it was impossible for the men to get the gate open in 
time, she, too, sprang forward ; at the same instant the 
ponies came smash on to the gate. She had made 
her spring too late, and fell heavily to the ground 
on her head. The heavy, old-fashioned comb of the 
period, with which her hair was looped up, was driven 
into her skull by the force of the fall. The Duke of 
Richmond, a witness to the accident, ran to her assist- 
ance, lifted her up, and rested her head upon his knees. 
The only words Mrs. M had spoken were uttered 



at the time : " Good God, my children ! '' By direction 
of the Duke she was immediately conveyed to a neigh- 
houring inn, where every assistance, medical and other- 
wise, that forethought or kindness could suggest was 
afforded her. 

"At six o'clock in the evening, the time at which my 
wife had gone into the stable and seen what we now 

knew had been her spirit, Mrs. M -, in her sole 

interval of returning consciousness, had made a violent 
but unsuccessful attempt to speak. From her glance 
having wandered round the room, in solemn, awful 
wistfulness, it had been conjectured she wished to see 
some relative or friend not then present. I went to 
Goodwood in the gig with Mr. Pinnock, and arrived 
in time to see my sister-in-law die at two o'clock in the 
morning. Her only conscious moments had been those 
in which she laboured unsuccessfully to speak, which 
had occurred at six o'clock. She wore a black silk 


" When we came to dispose of her business, and to 
wind up her affairs, there was scarcely anything left for 

the two orphan girls. Mrs. M 's father, however, 

being well to do, took them to bring up. At his death, 
which happened soon afterwards, his property went to 
his eldest son, who speedily dissipated the inheritance. 
During a space of two years the children were taken as 
visitors by various relations in turn, and lived an 
unhappy life with no settled home. 

" For some time I had been debating with myself, 
how to help these children, having many boys and girls 

BOGNOIt. 373 

of my own to provide for. I had almost settled to take 
them myself, bad as trade was with me at the time, and 
bring them up with my own family, when one day 
business called me to Brighton. The business was so 
urgent that it necessitated my travelling at night. 

" I se<" cut from Bognor in a close-headed gig on a 
beautiful moonlight winter's night, when the crisp frozen 
snow lay deep over the earth, and its fine glistening 
dust was whirled about in little eddies on the bleak night- 
wind driven now and then in stinging powder against 
my tingling cheek, warm and glowing in the sharp air. 
I had taken my great dog ' Bose ' (short for * Boat- 
swain ' ) for company. He lay, blinking wakefully, 
sprawled out on the spare seat of the gig beneath 
a mass of warm rugs. 

" Between Littlehampton and Worthing, is a lonely 
piece of road, long and dreary, through bleak and bare 
open country, where the snow lay knee-deep, sparkling 
in the moonlight. It was so cheerless that I turned 
round to speak to my dog, more for the sake of hearing 
the sound of a voice than anything else. ' Good Bose,' 
I said, patting him, ' there 's a good dog ! ' Then sud- 
denly I noticed he shivered, and shrank underneath the 
wraps. Then the horse required my attention, for he 
gave a start, and was going wrong, and had nearly taken 
me into the ditch. 

" Then I looked up. Walking at my horse's head, 
dressed in a sweeping robe, so white thfft it shone 
dazzling against the white snow, I saw a lady, her back 
turned to me, her head bare ; her hair dishevelled and 



strayed, showing sharp and black against her white 

" I was at first so much surprised at seeing a lady, 
ao dressed, exposed to the open night, and such a night 
as this, that I scarcely knew what to do. Recovering 
myself, I called out to know if I could render assistance 
if she wished to ride ? No answer. I drove faster, 
the horse blinking, and shying, and trembling the while, 
his ears laid back in abject terror. Still the figure 
maintained its position close to my horse's head. Then 
I thought that what I saw was no woman, but perchance 
a man disguised for the purpose of robbing me, seeking 
an opportunity to seize the bridle and stop the horse. 
Filled with this idea, I said, ' Good Bose ! hi ! look a3 
it, boy ! ' but the dog only shivered as if in fright. 
Then we came to a place where four cross roads met. 

" Determined to know the worst, I pulled up the 
horse. I fetched Bose, unwilling, out by the ears. He 
was a good dog at anything from a rat to a man, but 
he slunk away that night into the hedge, and lay there, 
his head between his paws, whining and howling. I 
walked straight up to the figure, still standing by the 
horse's head. As I walked, the figure turned, and I 
saw Harriet's face as plainly as I see you now white 
and calm placid, as idealized and beautified by death. 
I must own that, though not a nervous man, in that 
instant I felt sick and faint. Harriet looked me full 
in the face with a long, eager, silent look. I knew 
then it was her spirit, and felt a strange calm corne over 
me, for I knew it was nothing to harm me. When J 


could speak, I asked what troubled her. She looked at 
me still, never changing that cold fixed stare. Then I 
felt in my mind it was her children, and I said : 

" * Harriet ! is it for your children you are troubled ? ' 

" No answer. 

" ' Harriet,' I continued, ' if for these you are trou- 
bled, be assured they shall never want while I havs 
power to help them. Rest in peace ! ' 

" Still no answer. 

" I put up my ho.nd to wipe from my forehead the 
cold perspiration which had gathered there. When I 
took my hand away from shading my eyes, the figure 
was gone. I was alone on the bleak snow-covered 
ground. The breeze, that had been hushed before, 
breathed coolly and gratefully on my face, and the 
cold stars glimmered and sparkled sharply in the fat 
blue heavens. My dog crept up to me and furtively 
licked my hand, as who should say, ' Good master, 
don't be angry, I have served you in all but this.' 

"I took the children and brought them up till they 
could help themselves." 


' ; 

Bolling, or Bowling Hall, near Bradford, the residence 
of J. M. Tankard, Esq., is a fine old manor-house in a 
very good state of preservation ; the present owner 



having done everything to render it convenient and 
comfortable without sacrificing its ancient appearance. 
This Hall was formerly the abode of the Boilings ; but 
in 1502 Eosamund Boiling, sole heiress of the pro- 
perty, carried it by marriage into the Tempest family, 
from whom it passed through the hands of several 
successive owners until finally it became the property 
of the present proprietor. 

Some portions of this picturesque old place are very 
ancient; the embattled western tower, says Mr. William 
Scruton, to whom we are chiefly indebted for the infor- 
mation contained in this chapter, appearing, from its 
weather-beaten masonry and the thickness of its walls, 
to date not later than the reign of Edward the Third. 
Another tower of great antiquity flanks the other end 
of the fabric. That portion of the front which lies 
between the towers seems, from the ornate style of its 
architecture, to have been the work of earlier Tempests, 
and contains two large embayed windows, of which the 
western bay with heavy mullions is the window of " the 
ghost chamber." This haunted room is above the break- 
fast room, and formerly communicated by a passage, 
now bricked up, with the kitchens and servants' apart- 
ments. Its plaster ceiling is beautifully moulded, being 
covered with an elaborate tracery of conventionally 
treated branches bearing fruit and flowers, that, with the 
birds resting on them, issue out of the mouths of horses, 
boars, and other animals. The walls, which are covered 
with oak panels, painted a light colour, are surrounded 
by a curious cornice and frieze, consisting of human 


heads and grotesque animals in relief. The lofty carved 
oak mantel-piece is very remarkable ; it is supported by 
two fluted columns, which support a canopy ornamented 
with oak and vine leaves and sprays, below which are 
portraits of Sir Eichard Tempest and Rosamund his 
wife, painted on wood, and in a remarkably good state 
of preservation, considering the three centuries and a half 
which have elapsed since they were painted. 

The last Tempest who held sway at Boiling Hall was 
Richard, styled by Markham <( a weak, imprudent man, 
a Royalist and a gamester." When the Puritan party 
finally triumphed, this Tempest compounded for his 
estates by a heavy fine, which, coupled with his gambling 
proclivities, led to his ruin. In the autumn of 1658 he 
died in the King's Bench, a prisoner for debt. Accord- 
ing to the current legend he staked and lost Boiling 
Hall and all his estates at cards, during the deal 
exclaiming : 

" Now ace, deuce, and tray, 
Or farewell, Boiling Hall, for ever and aye I " 

No wonder if this Royalist reprobate's uneasy spirit 
haunts its squandered-away Hall ; but what his ancient 
dwelling is chiefly noted for is for an apparition which 
visited it, or, rather, rendered itself visible at the time 
of his ownership of the place. 

During the Civil War Bradford was closely invested 
by the Royalists under the Earl of Newcastle. This 
nobleman, who had made Boiling Hall his head-quarters, 
being enraged at the slaughter of the Earl of Newport, 
prepared instructions for a general massacre of the 


inhabitants, men, women, and children ; no quarter to 
be given to any. However, before the town capitulated, 
different orders were issued, and instructions given that 
none should be put to death. The reason of this great 
change of orders is generally attributed to supernatural 
intervention. Popular tradition declares that a female 
arrayed in white appeared in the Earl's bed-chamber at 
Boiling Hall, and besought mercy for the townsfolk. Ac- 
cording to the well-known account of Mr. Joseph Lister, 
who was in Bradford during the siege, " it was generally 
reported that something came on the Lord's Day night, 
and pulled the clothes off his bed several times, and 
cried out with a lamentable voice ' Pity poor Bradford!' 
that then he sent out his orders that neither man, 
woman, nor child should be killed in the town ; and that 
then the apparition which had so disturbed him left him 
and went away." 

There does not appear to be any record of another 
appearance of this apparition, but the story of its visit 
to the Earl is an old and widely-diffused one; wherefore 
it would not do to omit from this collection the account 
of " The Boiling Hall Ghost/' 


Mr. Barham, in his life of his father, the author of 
the world-famed Ingolchby Legends, cites the following 
curious circumstances from the reverend author's diarv. 


Barham states that the story is current in the Carter 
family, of which his first wife was a member, and that 
it was told to him bv Dr. Roberts : 

11 One dav," proceeds his narrative, " about the year 
1785, two lads, one of whom was the uncle of the lady 
in question, were playing in the large hall of Brandon 
Hall, a mansion situated on the borders of Suffolk," 
and at that time the property of the Carters, but which 
afterwards passed into the possession of the Hurrells. 
The attention of the boys was suddenly caught by the 
opening of a door, usually kept locked, which led to 
the more ancient part of the landing ; and they were 
more astonished still by the appearance of a strange 
lady dressed in blue satin, who slowly walked towards 
the great staircase, stamped three times on a large 
slab of blue stone which lay at the foot, and then, con- 
tinuing her walk across the hall, disappeared through 
a door opposite the one by which she had entered. The 
boys, more puzzled than frightened, left off playing, 
and ran and told Mrs. Carter, the mistress of the house, 
and the mother of the narrator's (Mr. Roberts') uncle. 
She immediately fainted. Subsequently she told her 
son that the apparition had been frequently seen by 
other members of the family, and that there was a very 
dreadful story connected with it which, however, she 
declined to communicate. Some years afterwards, the 
house having, I believe, changed hands in the interval, 
certain repairs were undertaken, in the course of which 

* It is actually in Essex, and now forms part of Sudbury. Ed 


the entrance to a large vault was discovered, concealed 
by the stone upon which the lady in blue satin had 
stamped. On examination two skeletons were found 
below ; a gold bracelet was on the arm of one, and gold 
spurs were lying near the feet of the other. In addition, 
a goblet having some dark-coloured sediment at the 
bottom, supposed to be blood, was found in a recess in 
the wall, and a considerable quantity of infants' skulls 
and bones were heaped up in one corner. Lastly, a 
considerable sum in gold coin was brought to light." 

The present representative of the Hurrells informs 
me that he is ignorant of the tradition attaching to 
Brundon Hall ; but he adds that a pair of antique spurs 
and a sword were directed by his great grandfather in 
his will to be preserved as heir-looms in the family. 

How far this coincidence may be thought to corrobo- 
rate the story of the well-known Sudbury apparition, 
afterwards to be referred to, must be left to the reader 
to decide. 


Amongst the haunted houses of Great Britain those 
which are the permanent residence of certain skulls are 
the most curious. Various grand old halls, quaint 
farm-houses, and ancient dwellings, scattered about the 
kingdom, are troubled at times by all kinds of super- 


natural disturbances, in consequence of some long and 
carefully preserved skull being removed from its resting- 
place, or otherwise interfered with. These pages fur- 
nish several singular instances of such legends con- 
nected with old ancestral dwellings, but none more 
mvsterious, or devoutly believed in, than that con- 
nected with Burton Agnes Hall, the family seat of Sir 
Henry Somerville Boynton. 

Burton Agnes is a picturesque village, between Brid- 
lington and Driffield, in the East Hiding of Yorkshire. 
It has some pretty cottages, a handsome church, con- 
taining several splendid tombs of the Boynton, Griffiths, 
and Somerville families (one of the last dating back to 
1336), and the grand old Hall, the residence of the 
Boyntons. The village, which is chiefly, if not entirely, 
owned by the Boyntons, lies on the slope of the Wolds ; 
a long chain of hills sweep round it from Flamborough 
Head on the north, whence extensive views over the 
lowlands of Holderness are obtainable. 

The Hall, says Mr. F. Ross, from whose interesting 
article in the Leeds Mercury much of the following in- 
formation is derived, is a large and picturesque building 
of red brick, with stone quoins a mixture of the 
Tudor, Elizabethan, and Jacobean styles, with a long 
broken faQade, ornamented with octagonal bays in the 
wings, and mullioned windows. In the interior are a 
grand hall, with a fine carved screen, behind which is 
the magnificent staircase ; a noble gallery, containing a 
choice collection of paintings an apartment which has 
not its equal for many miles. All the chief apartments 


are profusely ornamented with carved woodwork, over 
the fire-place of the hall being a curious specimen re- 
presenting " The Empire of Death." Inigo Jones is 
said to have designed the Hall, and Rubens to have 
decorated some portions of the interior. Inwardly and 
outwardly, this English home is as magnificent as it it 
curious yet comfortable. From the grand entrance 
gateway, an avenue of yew-trees stretches away to the 
porch of the Hall, producing a picturesque effect. 
Standing, as the edifice does, on an elevation, the 
panorama seen over the surrounding neighbourhood 
from its windows is both grand and impressive. Alto- 
gether, Burton Agnes Hall might be deemed, in every 
respect, a desirable dwelling. But there is a skeleton, 
or, rather, a portion of one, in this splendid mansion. 

In the course of centuries the estates had passed, by 
descent, into possession of the De Somervilles, Griffiths, 
and Boynton families, until they became vested in the 
persons of three sisters, co-heiresses. A painting at the 
Hall, represents these three ladies in costumes of the 
Elizabethan period ; and in one of the upper rooms 
is the portrait of a lady, apparently one of these three, 
the bodily representative of the spirit which haunts the 
ancient mansion, and who is familiarly and irreverently 
called "Awd Nance," by the domestics. The skull of 
this lady is preserved at the Hall, much against the will, 
it is averred, of the inhabitants thereof, but it is more 
than mortal dare do to remove it. When this relic of 
mortality is left quietly upon its resting-place, all goes 
well ; but whenever any attempt is made to remove it, 


most diabolical disturbances and unearthly noises are 
raised in the house, and last until it is restored. The 
story to account for these phenomena, as told by Mr. 
Ross, is as follows : 

" The three ladies, co-heiresses of the estate of Burton \ 
Agnes, were in possession of considerable wealth, and had : 
very exalted ideas of the dignity of the family. For a 
while they resided in the ancient mansion, which had 
been the home of several generations of Griffiths and 
Somervilles ; but it had become dilapidated, and was 
altogether out of fashion with the existing Eliza- 
bethan style of architecture, now merging into the 
Jacobean, and the three ladies began to think it alto- 
gether too mean for the residence of so important a 
family as theirs. They had many consultations on the 
subject, and, at length, determined to erect a hall in 
such a style as should eclipse the splendour of all the 
mansions in the neighbourhood, even that of the mighty 
Earls of Northumberland at Leckonfield, a few miles 
distant. The most active promoter of the scheme was 
Anne, the younger sister, who could talk, think, and 
dream of nothing but the magnificent home to be 
erected for themselves and their descendants. Money 
they had in abundance. They called in the best archi- 
tects of the day to furnish designs ; bricklayers, 
masons, and carpenters were soon at work building up 
the mansion, and then, for the decorative portions, the 
genius of Inigo Jones and the talents of Rubens were 
employed on whatever portion of the interior that wa3 
susceptible of artistic treatment. In process of time it 


emerged from the hands of artists and workmen, like a 
palace erected by the Genii of the Arabian Nights, a 
palace encrusted throughout on walls, roof, and furni- 
ture with the most exquisite carvings and sculptures of 
the most skilled masters of the age, and radiant with the 
most glowing tints of the pencil of Peter Paul. 

"Of the three sisters, Anne took the most lively in- 
terest in the new house. She witnessed the uprising 
walls, the development of the architectural features of 
the grand facade, and the outgrowth of the chiselled 
design of the interior under the cunning handicraft of 
the carvers and sculptors, with the most rapturous "de- 
light ; and, when it was completed, could never suffi- 
ciently admire its symmetrical proportions, noble hall, 
stately gallery, and manifold artistic enrichments. 

" Some little time after its completion and occupation 
by its lady owners, Anne, the enthusiast, paid an after- 
noon visit to the St. Quentins, at Harpham, about 
nightfall proposing to return home. She was wholly 
unattended, excepting by a dog, as the houses were only 
about a mile apart, singing merrily as she went along. As 
she approached St. John's Well, she perceived two 
ruffianly-looking mendicants stretched on the grass by 
its side. This was a very numerous and dangerous 
class, since the dissolution of the monasteries, at whose 
gates they had been supplied with food, and lived by 
traversing the country, and going from abbey to priory 
and priory to abbey, being generally too lazy to apply 
themselves to work ; and although parochial Poor Laws 
had been passed in the two or three preceding reigns, it 


had been left in a great measure to the people to contri- 
bute to the poor funds, more by way of a benevolence 
than as a compulsory rate, so that many parishes shirked 
the collection altogether, and thus the roads of the 
country and the streets of the towns swarmed with 
sturdy beggars, who would take no denial when they 
were able to demand alms bv threats and violence. 
The lady approached them with some tremor, but did 
not feel much fear, as she was still within the precincts 
of Hnrpham, and not far from those who would afford 
her protection. The men rose as she came up to them, 
and asked alms, and she drew out her purse and gave 
them a few coins ; but in doing so the glitter of her 
finger-ring attracted their notice, and, in a threatening 
tone, they demanded that it should be given up to them. 
As it was a heirloom that she had inherited from her 
mother, she valued it above all price, and declared she 
could not, on any account, give up her mother's ring. 
' Mother or no mother,' replied one of the men in a gruff 
tone, * we mean to have it, and if you do not bestow it 
freely, we must take it.' So saying, he seized her hand 
and attempted to draw off the ring. At this manifes- 
tation of violence she screamed aloud for help, when 
the other ruffian, exclaiming, ' Stop that noise ! ' struck 
her a blow on the head with his stick, and she fell 
senseless to the earth. Her screams had reached the 
village, and some rustics came hurrying up, upon which 
the villains made a hastv retreat, without beinsf able to 
get the ring from her finger. She was found, as it was 
supposed, dead or dying, and was carried carefully to 


Harpham Hall, where, under the care of Lady St. 
Quentin and the application of restoratives, she re- 
covered sufficiently to be removed the following day to 
her home. Although she was restored to sensibility 
she was suffering acutely from the blow, and was placed 
in bed in a state of utter prostration ; she remained so 
for a few days, becoming weaker gradually, until, 
despite the tender nursing of her sisters, and the best 
medical advice that York could afford, she fell a victim 
to the brutal attack of the robbers, and was buried in 
the church of Burton Agnes. 

" During these few intervening days she was alter- 
nately sensible and delirious ; but in whichever state she 
was, her thoughts seemed to turn on what had latterly 
been the passion of her life her affection for her fondly 
loved home. ' Sisters,' said she, ' never shall I sleep 
peacefully in my grave in the churchyard unless I, or a 
part of me at least, remain here in our beautiful home 
as long as it lasts. Promise me this, dear sisters, that 
when I am dead my head shall be taken from my body 
and preserved within these walls. Here let it for ever 
remain, and on no account be removed. And under- 
stand and make it known to those who in future shall 
become possessors of the house, that if they disobey this 
my last injunction, my spirit shall, if so able and so 
permitted, make such a disturbance within its walls as 
to render it uninhabitable for others so long as my head 
is divorced from its homo' Her sisters, to pacify her, 
promised to obey her instructions, but without any in- 
tention of keeping the promise, and the bodv was laid 


entire and unmutilated under the pavement of the 

" About a week after the interment, as the inhabitants 
of the Hall were preparing one evening to retire to rest, 
they were alarmed by a sudden and loud crash in one of 
the up-stairs rooms ; the two sisters and the domestics 
rushed up together in great consternation, but after 
much trembling came to the conclusion that some heavy 
piece of furniture had fallen, and the men-servants, of 
whom there were two in the house, went up-stairs to 
ascertain the cause of the noise, but were not able to 
find anything to account for it. The household became 
still more alarmed at this report, and for a long time 
were afraid to go to bed; but hearing nothing further, 
at length retired, and the night passed away without 
further disturbance. Nothing more occurred until the 
same night in the following week, when the inmates 
were aroused from sleep in the dead of the night by a 
loud clapping to, seemingly, of half a dozen of the doors. 
With fear-stricken countenances and hair standing on 
end, they struck lights and mustered up sufficient 
courage to go over the house. They found all the doors 
closed, but for a while the clapping continued, but 
always in a different part of the house, remote from 
where they were. At length the disturbance ceased, and 
as nothing untoward followed the noise of the preceding 
A-eek, they again ventured to return to their beds, where 
they lay sleepless and quaking with fear until daylight. 

"Another week of quietness passed away, but on the 
corresponding night they were again disturbed by what 



appeared to be a crowd of persons hurrying along the 
galleries and up and down the stairs, which was followed 
by a sound of groaning as from a dying person. On 
this occasion they were all too terrified to leave their 
beds, but lay crouching under the bed-clothes perspiring 
with fear. The following day the female servants fled 
from the house, refusing to remain any longer in com- 
panionship with the ghost which, they all concluded, 
was the author of the unearthly noises. 

M The two ladies took counsel with their neighbour, 
Mr., afterwards Sir, William St. Quintin and the Vicar 
of the parish. In the course of conversation it occurred 
to them that the noises took place on the same night of 
the week that Anne had died, and the sisters remembered 
her dying words, and their promise that some part of 
her body should be preserved in the house ; also her 
threat that if her wish were not complied with, she 
would, if she were so permitted, render the house un- 
inhabitable for others, and it appeared evident that she 
was carrying out her threat. The question then was : 
What was to be done in order to carry out her wish, 
and the clergyman suggested that the coffin should be 
opened to see if that could throw any light on the 
matter. This was done the following day, when a 
ghastly spectacle presented itself. The body lay with- 
out any marks of corruption or decay, but the head was 
disengaged from the trunk, and appeared to be rapidly 
assuming the semblance of a fleshless skull. This was 
reported to the ladies, who, although terrified at the idea, 
agreed to the suggestion of the Vicar that the skull 


should be brought to the house, which was done, and so 
long as it was allowed to remain undisturbed on the 
table where it was placed, the house was not troubled 
with visitations of a ghostly nature. 

" Many attempts have since been made to rid the Hall 
of the skull, but without success ; as whenever it has 
been removed the ghostly knockings have been resumed, 
and no rest or peace enjoyed until it has been restored. 
On one occasion a maid-servant threw it from the win- 
dow upon a passing load of manure, but from that 
moment the horses were not able to move the waggon 
an inch, and despite the vigorous whipping of the wag- 
goner, all their efforts were in vain, until the servant 
confessed what she had done, when the skull was 
brought back into the house, and the horses drew the 
waggon along without the least difficulty. On another, 
one of the Boyntons caused it to be buried in the garden, 
when the most dismal wailings and cries kept the house 
in a state of disquietude and alarm until it was dug up 
and restored to its place in the Hall, when they ceased." 

A correspondent of Mr. Ross, to whom, indeed, that 
gentleman was indebted for some of the particulars 
already given, furnished him with the following account 
of his own personal experience of the Burton Agnes 
hauntings, gained during a night spent at the Hall. He 
writes : 

" Some forty years ago, John Bilton, a cousin of 
mine, came from London on a visit to the neighbour- 
hood, and having a relative, Matthew Potter, who was a 
gamekeeper on the estate, and resided in the Hall, he 

25 * 


paid him a visit, and was invited to pass the night 
there. Potter, however, told him that, according to 
popular report, the house was haunted, and that if he 
were afraid of ghosts he had better sleep elsewhere ; but 
John, who was a dare-devil sort of a fellow, altogether 
untinctured by superstitious fancies, replied, ' Afraid ! 
not I, indeed ; I care not how many ghosts there may 
be in the house so long as they do not molest me.' 
Potter then told him of the skull and the portrait of 
' Awd Nance,' and asked him if he would like to see the 
latter ; the skull, it would appear, from what followed, 
was not then in the house. He replied that he should 
like to see the picture, and they passed into the room 
where it was hanging, and Potter held up the candle 
before the portrait, when, in a moment, and without any 
apparent cause, the candle became extinguished, and 
defied all attempts at * blowing in again/ and they were 
obliged to grope their way to the bed-room in the dark. 
They occupied the same bed, and Potter was soon asleep 
and snoring ; but Bilton, ruminating over the tale of 
the skull and the curious circumstance of the sudden 
extinguishment of the light in front of the portrait of 
the ghost, lay awake. When he had lain musing for 
half an hour, he heard a shuffling of feet outside the 
chamber door, which at first he ascribed to the servants 
going to bed, but as the sounds did not cease, but kept 
increasing, he nudged his bed-fellow, and said, f Matty, 
what the deuce is all that row about? ' ' Jinny Yew- 
lats ' (owls), replied his companion, in a half-waking 
tone, and turning over, again began to snore. The 


noises became more uproarious, and it seemed as if ten 
or a dozen persons were scuffling about in the passage 
just outside, and rushing in and out of the rooms, slam- 
ming the doors with great violence, upon which he gave 
his friend another vigorous nudge in the ribs, exclaim- 
ing, ' Wake up, Matty ; don't you hear that confounded 
row ? What does it all mean ? ' ' Jinnv Yewlats,' again 
muttered his bed-fellow. ' Jinny Yewlats,' replied 
Bilton, 'Jinnv Yewlats can't make such an infernal 
uproar as that.' Matty, who was now more awakened, 
listened a moment, and then said, ' It's Awd Nance, but 
ah nivver take any notice of her,' and he rolled over and 
again began to snore. After this ' the fun grew fast 
and furious,' a struggling fight seemed to be going on 
outside, and the clapping of the doors reverberated in 
the passage like thunder-claps. He expected every 
moment to see the chamber door fly open, and Awd 
Nance with a troop of ghosts come rushing in, but no 
such catastrophe occurred, and after a while the noises 
ceased, and about daylight he fell asleep. " The writer 
adds that his cousin, though a fear-nought and a tho- 
rough disbeliever in the supernatural, told him that he 
never passed so fearful a night before in his life, and 
would not sleep another night in the place if he were 
offered the Hall itself for doing so. He further adds 
that his cousin was a thoroughly truthful man, who 
might be implicitly believed, and that he had the 
narrative from his own lips on the following day." 



In a series of articles on the English Lakes, contributed 
by Mr. Moncure D. Conway to Harper s Magazine, 
are many little quaint bits of legendary lore, collected 
here and there in happily styled " Wordsworthshire." 
One curious story told by our American cousin respect- 
ing the manner in which an ancient building near 
Ambleside is haunted, and the cause of this visitation, 
must be told in his own words, as there does not appear 
to be any other available source of information. 

" As we gained the height beyond Bowness, on the 
road to Ambleside," relates Mr. Conway, " we paused for 
some time ; and while my comrade the artist . . . passes 
an hour of ecstasy over the southward view of Winder- 
mere, my eyes were dwelling on an ancient farm and 
homestead over against the northward water, with which 
is associated one of the weird legends of this region. 
Calgarth is the name of it, and it is not picturesque 
enough for the guide-books to do more than mention it. 
Miss Martineau praises the owner for leaving depres- 
sions in his walls in order that travellers may look 
across his estate to the scenery beyond, and mentions 
that the arms of the Phillipsons are still there in the 
kitchen, carved amid a profusion of arabesque devices 
over the ample fire-place. But none of our professional 
guides appear to have got hold of the story of the place 
as it is known to the more aged peasants. 

" It runs that Calgarth (which seems to be from Old 


Norse Kalgarde, a vegetable garden) was a bit of 
ground owned by a bumble farmer named Kraster Cook 
and his good wife Dorothy. But their little inheritance 
was coveted by the chief aristocrat and magistrate 
of the neighbourhood, Myles Phillipson. The Phillip- 
sons were a great and wealthy family, but they could 
not induce Kraster and Dorothy to sell them this piece 
of ground to complete their estate. Myles Phillipson 
swore he M have that ground, be they * live or deead ' ; 
but as time went on, he appeared to be more gracious, 
and once he gave a great Christmas banquet to the 
neighbours, to which Kraster and Dorothy were invited. 
It was a dear feast for them. Phillipson pretended they 
had stolen a silver cup, and sure enough it was found 
in Kraster's house a ' plant ' of course. The offence 
was then capital ; and as Phillipson was the magistrate, 
Kraster and Dorothy were sentenced to death. In the 
court-room, Dorothy arose, glowered at the magistrate, 
and said, with words that rang through the building : 

" ' Guard thyself, Myles Phillipson ! Thou thinkest 
thou hast managed grandly ; but that tiny lump of land 
is the dearest a Phillipson has ever bought or stolen; 
for you will never prosper, neither your breed ; whatever 
scheme you undertake will wither in your hand ; the 
side you take will always lose ; the time shall come 
no Phillipson will own an inch of land ; and while 
Calgarth walls shall stand, we '11 haunt it night and day 
never will ye be rid of us ! 

" Thenceforth the Phillipsons had for their guests 
two skulls, They were found at Christmas at the head 


of a stairway ; they were buried in a distant region, 
but they turned up in the old house again. The two 
skulls were burned again and again ; they were brayed 
to dust and cast to the wind; they were several years 
sunk in the lake ; but the Phillipsons never could get 
rid of them. Meanwhile old Dorothy's weird went 
on to its fulfilment, until the family sank into poverty, 
and at length disappeared." 

The well-known Dr. Watson, Bishop of Llandaff, was 
at one time an occupant of Calgarth, and, whilst residing 
there, in order to satisfy local fears, went through a 
solemn form of " laying " the two ghostly skulls. For 
a time, at least, this had the desired effect, and Dorothy 
and Kraster have remained quiet of late years. 


Calverley is an old-fashioned village in Yorkshire, 
chiefly known to historians and strangers as the scene 
of a terrible tragedy which took place early in the 17th 
century. The Hall, although now modernised and 
otherwise mutilated, and subdivided into seven dwell- 
ings, still retains many remains of its ancient pictur- 
esqueness. Once the residence of the ancient Calverley 
family, whose pedigree is traced back to the time of the 
Empress Maud, and of whom Mr. John Batty has 
preserved records, in his History of Rothwell, as far 


back as 1457, and amongst whose most distinguished 
scions may be mentioned the late 0. S. Calverley, the 
poet, old Calverley Hall was formerly a place of great 
importance as well as mediaeval comfort. Mr. William 
Scruton, in The Yorkshireman of January 5th, 1884, 
describes fully the present condition of the fine old 
place, telling of traces of ancient carving ; of oak ceilings 
and battlemented corbels; of decorated Gothic windows, 
and of many vestiges of the former grandeur of the 

One chamber in particular is not only noteworthy 
on account of its fine oaken panelling and archaic 
specimens of fresco work, but because it was therein 
that the " bloodie deed" which has rendered the place 
for ever dreadful and dreaded was committed. The 
doorway, says Mr. Scruton, which led to the flight of 
steps down which Walter Calverley threw the servant, 
is now blocked up. 

The story of the tragedy connected with Calverley 
Hall has been a favourite theme for authors and anti- 
quarians from the days of John Whitaker, to those of 
John Timbs, but all that is necessary to repeat of it 
here may be given from a very condensed account by 
Mr. Samuel Margerison, of Calverley, cited in the above 
number of The Yorkslrireman. He says: 

"Walter Calverley, whose father was a rich Roman 
Catholic, was a wild, reckless man, though his wife was 
a most estimable and virtuous ladv. It is said that he 
inherited insanity from his mother's family. Be that 
as it may, on the 23rd of April, 1604, he went into a 


fit of insane frenzy of jealousy, or pretended so to do. 
The fact was he had- completely beggared himself, and 
got ' over head and ears * into debt. Money-lenders 
were pressing him hard, and he had become desperate. 
Rushing madly into the house he snatched up one and 
then another of his children ; plunged his dagger into 
them, threw them down, and then attempted to take the 
life of their mother. A steel corset which she wore 
was luckily in the way, and saved her life. The assassin, 
however, thought he had killed her, and left hurriedly. 
He then mounted his horse, intending to kill the only 
other child he had, Henry, a ' brat at nurse,' who was 
then at Norton. He was pursued by some villagers : 
his horse fell and threw him off, and so he was caught. 
When brought to trial at York he refused to plead, 
knowing that thereby his estates would not be forfeited 
to the Crown, but would descend to his surviving son. 
[And this according to the well-known law of peine 
forte et dure.] 

" Walter Calverley was punished for his crime by 
being pressed to death at York Castle. Tradition saith 
that an old servant was with him when they were put- 
ting the stones on his chest that were to crush out his 
life, and that the wretched criminal begged him to put 
him out of his misery by sitting on the stones, saying, 
* A pund o' more weight lig on, lig on.' The old servant 
complied with his request, but was straightway hanged 
for his pains. Walter was buried at St. Mary's, Castle- 
gate, York ; but there is a tradition that, after several 
pretended interments, his body was secretly buried at 


Calverley, among the remains of the sixteen previous 
generations of the Calverleys." 

Little wonder that after so dire a tragedy, Calverley 
and its precincts were regarded as haunted ground. 
Walter's spirit, says Mr. Scruton, could not rest. He 
was often seen galloping about the district at night on 
a headless horse, and was generally accompanied by a 
number of followers similarly mounted, who delighted 
to run down any poor benighted folks who happened to 
be thereabouts. These spectral horsemen generally dis- 
appeared into a cave in the wood, but this cave has 
now been quarried away. At last the ghostly horseman 
became so troublesome that the Vicar of Calverley Church 
undertook the task of laying it, and, for a time at least, 
succeeded in getting rid of the " Bogie." Walter was 
not to appear again, " as long as hollies grew green in 
Calverley Wood." The hollies still grow green in that 
wood, but, apparently, something has occurred to pre- 
vent the spell from being quite successful, as the follow- 
ing incidents would seem to show. 

The Kev. Richard Burdsall, a devoted Wesleyan 
preacher, having to preach at Calverley, about a century 
ago, was entertained as a guest at the Hall, on a cer- 
tain Saturday evening in the month of January. 
"About twelve o'clock," records the rev. gentleman, 
" I was conducted up one pair of stairs into a large room 
which was surrounded by an oaken wainscot after the 
ancient plan. . . . After my usual devotions I laid down 
to rest. I had not been asleep long before I thought 
something crept up to my breast, pressing me much. I 


was greatly agitated, and struggled hard to awake. In 
this situation, according to the best judgment I could 
form, the bed seemed to swing as if it had been slung 
in slings, and I was thrown out on the floor. When 
I came to myself I soon got on my knees, and returned 
thanks to God that I was not hurt. Committing my- 
self to His care, I got into bed the second time. After 
lying for about fifteen minutes, reasoning with myself 
whether I had been thrown out of bed, or whether I had 
got out in my sleep, to satisfy me fully on this point, 
I was clearly thrown out a second time from between 
the bed-clothes to the floor, by just such a motion as 
before described. I quickly got on my knees to pray 
to the Almighty for my safety, and to thank Him that I 
was not hurt. After this I crept under the bed, to feel 
if there was anything there; but I found nothing. I 
got into bed for the third time. Just as I laid myself 
down I was led to ask, 'Am I in my right senses ? ' I 
answered, ' Yes, Lord, if ever I had any.' I had not 
lain a minute before I was thrown out of bed a third 
time. After this I once more crept under the bed to 
ascertain whether all the cords were fast, and examined 
until I touched all the bed-posts ; but I found all right. 
This was about one o'clock. I now put on my clothes, 
not attempting to lie down any more. ... I was after- 
wards told that this very house had formerly been the 
residence of Calverley, who, in the reign of King James, 
was tried at York for the murder of his wife and two 
children, and, standing neuter, was pressed to death in 
the castle." 


Such is the worthy preacher's record of the way in 
which he was tormented in the haunted Hall ; but other, 
and more recent manifestations of spectral agency, are 
believed to have taken place. " The last mad freak of 
the ghost of poor Walter Calverley," according to Mr. 
Scruton, took place about twelve years ago, when, 
towards the close of the vear, " the bell in the church 
tower began to toll at one o'clock in the morning, and 
went on tolling for a long, long time. Men came rush- 
ing to the scene, some of whom bad come out of warm, 
comfortable beds, and some who had not been in bed 
at all. All were struck dumb with terror and cold. 
The keys could not be found. Toll, toll, toll ! still 
went out the mysterious sounds in the night winds. At 
last came the keys ; but just as they rattled at the key- 
hole the noise stopped, and all was silent as death." 

Although such supposed direct manifestations of 
Walter Calverley's ghostly powers have not been 
repeated of late, certain weird signs of the tragedy are, 
it is said, still visible. Stains of blood irremovable 
stains are yet to be seen on the floor ; and there is a 
flag, one particular flag, in the cellar, which always 
has a mysterious damp place on it; all the other flags 
are dry save this. " Wise men have tried," says Mr. 
Scruton, "to account for this; but, as yet, have signally 
failed. Here it is, plain to be seen, and what one sees, 
one can believe." 

A correspondent writes that a Bradford paper, 
published in March 1874, in an article entitled Cal- 
verley, Forty Years Ago, gives the following anecdote in 


proof of how strong an impression had been made upon 
the public mind by the old legend connected with this 
place. The writer of the article describes how, in his 
youthful days, he assisted at an attempt to raise the 
ghost of the old murderous squire ; the modus operandi, 
he says, was as follows : 

About a dozen of the scholars having leisure, and 
fired with the imaginative spirit, used to assemble after 
school-hours close to the venerable church of Calverley 
and then put their hats and caps down on the ground, 
in a pyramidal form. Then, taking hold of each other's 
hands, they formed a " magic circle,'' holding firmly 
together, and making use of an old refrain : 

" Old Calverley, old Calverley, I have thee by the ears, 
I '11 cut thee into collops, unless thee appears." 

Whilst this incantation was going on, crumbs of bread 
(saved from their dinner), and mixed with pins, were 
strewn on the ground, the meanwhile the lads tramped 
round in the circle with a heavy tread. Some of the 
more venturesome boys had to go round to each of the 
church doors, and whistle aloud through the key-holes, 
repeating the magical couplet which their comrades in 
the circle were chanting. At this culminating point 
a pale and ghostly figure was expected to appear, and, 
on one occasion, some such apparition does seem to 
have issued forth, apparently from the church. The 
lads, in their terrified haste to avoid the ghost's fearful 
grasp, scampered off as fast as their legs would carry 
them, leaving their hats and caps scattered about the 
ground as legitimate spoil for old Calverley. 



One of the most bizarre superstitions of any time or 
clime is connected with Chartley, near Lichfield, a seat 
of the Ferrers family. When the immense possessions 
of the Ferrers were forfeited by the attainder of the 
Earl after his defeat at Burton Bridge, where he led the 
rebellious barons against Henry the Third, the Chartley 
estate, being settled in dower, was alone reserved to 
the family. 

In the Park of Chartley, still described as a wild and 
romantic spot, untouched by the hand of the agricul- 
turist, and left in its primitive state, is preserved a 
singular species of wild cattle, declared to be indigenous, 
and of a race nearly extinct. In Bewick's Quadrupeds, 
the principal external appearances which distinguish 
this breed of cattle from all others are thus described : 
" their colour is invariably white, muzzles black; the 
whole of the inside of the ear, and about one third of 
the outside, from the tip downwards, red ; horns white 
with black tips, very fine, and bent upwards." 

In the year the battle of Burton Bridge was fought 
and lost, a black calf was born in this unique race; and 
the downfall of the grand house of Ferrers happening 
about the same time, gave rise to the tradition, stiU 
current, that the birth of a dark-hued, or parti-coloured 
calf from the wild breed in Chartley Park, is a sure ome?i 
of death within the same year to a member of the 
Ferrers family. It is a noticeable coincidence, says 


the Staffordshire Chronicle of July 1835, that a calf of 
this description has been born whenever a death has 
happened in the family of late years. The decease of 
the seventh Earl Ferrers, and of his countess, and of 
his son, Viscount Tamworth, and of his daughter, Mrs. 
William JollifFe, as well as the deaths of the son and 
heir of the eighth Earl, and of his daughter, Lady 
Francis Shirley, were each preceded by the ominous 
birth of the fatal-hued calf. In the spring of 1835 
an animal perfectly black was calved by one of this 
mysterious tribe, in the Park of Chartley, and the por- 
tentous event was speedily followed by the death of 
the Countess, the second wife of the eighth Earl Ferrers. 
This outre family tradition has served for the ground- 
work of a romantic, once popular novel, entitled Charlie//, 
or the Fatalist. 


In Roby and Wilkinson's suggestive work on Lan- 
cashire Let/ends, to which we are indebted for some of 
the traditions in this volume, is an account of the Clegg 
Hall tragedy. The story, as given in the work just 
referred to, is as follows : 

" Clegg Hall, about two miles N.E. from Rochdale* 
stands on the only estate within the parish of Whalley 
which still continues in the local family name. On this 


site was the old house built by Bernulf de Clegg and 
Quenilda his wife, as early as the reign of Stephen. 
Not a vestige of it remains. The present comparatively 
modern erection was built by Theophilus Ashton, of 
Koch dale, a lawyer, and one of the Ashtons of Little 
Clegg, about the year 1620. After many changes of 
occupants, it is now in part used as a country ale-house; 
other portions are inhabited by the labouring classes, 
who find employment in that populous manufacturing 
district. It is the property of the Fentons, by purchase 
from the late John Entwisle, Esq., of Foxholes. 

" To Clegg Hall, or rather what was once the site of 
that ancient house, tradition points through the dim 
vista of past ages as the scene of an unnatural and 
cruel tragedy. It was in the square, low, dark man- 
sion, built in the reign of Stephen, that this crime is 
said to have been perpetrated, one of those half- 
timbered houses, called 'post-and-petrel/ having huge 
main timbers, crooks, &c, the interstices being wattled 
and filled with a compost of clay and chopped straw. 
Of this rude and primitive architecture were the houses 
of the English gentry in former ages. Here, then, was 
that horrible deed perpetrated which gave rise to the 
stories yet extant relating to the ' Clegg Hall boggarts.' 
The prevailing tradition is not exact as to the date of 
its occurrence ; but it is said that some time about 
the thirteenth or fourteenth century, a tragedy re- 
sembling that of the ' Babes in the Wood ' was perpe- 
trated here. A wicked uncle destroyed the lawful heirs 
of Clegg Hall and estates two orphan children that 



were left to his care by throwing them over a balcony 
into the moat, in order that he might seize on their 
inheritance. Ever afterwards so the story goes the 
house was the reputed haunt of a troubled and angry 
spirit, until means were taken for its removal, or rather 

" Of course, this ' boggart,' " says Mr. Wilkinson, 
" could not be the manes of the murdered children, 
or it would have been seen as a plurality of spirits ; 
but was, in all likelihood, the wretched ghost of the 
ruffianly relative, whose double crime would not let him 
rest in the peace of the grave. Even after the original 
house was almost wholly pulled clown, and that of 
a.d. 1620 erected on its site, the ' boggart' still haunted 
the ancient spot, and its occasional visitations were 
the source of the great alarm and annoyance to which 
the inmates were subjected. From these slight mate- 
rials, Mr. Roby has woven one of those fictions, full 
of romantic incident, which have rendered his Traditions 
of Lancashire* so famous. We have taken such facts 
only," concludes Mr. Wilkinson, " as seem really tra- 

* " It is only just to state," remarks Mr. Wilkinson, " that the story 
of ' Clcgg Hall Boggart ' was communicated to Mr. Roby b}*- Mr 
William Nuttall, of Rochdale, author of Le Voi/ageur, and the com- 
poser of a ballad on the tradition. In this ballad, entitled ' Sir Roland 
and the Clegg Hall Boggart,' Mr. Nuttall makes Sir Roland murder 
the children in bed with a daggei\ Remorse eventually drove him 
mad, and he died raving during a violent storm. The Hall was ever 
after haunted by the children's ghosts, and also by demons, till St. 
Antonea (St Anthony) with a relic from the Virgin's shrine, exorcised 
and laid the evil spirits." 


ditionary, recommending the lovers of the marvellous 
to the work just cited for a very entertaining tale on 
this subject." 

To this meagre if suggestive account of a popular 
story, may be added, that in a curious manuscript 
volume, now, or recently, the property of Dr. Charles 
Clay, of Manchester, Mr. Nuttall notes that " many 
ridiculous tales were told of the two boggarts of Clegg 
Hall, by the country people." That there were two, all 
local accounts would seem to testify. " At one time, 
proceeds Mr. Nuttall, " they (the country people) un- 
ceasingly importuned a pious monk in the neighbour- 
hood to exorcise or * lay the ghosts,' to which request 
he consented. Having provided himself with a variety 
of charms and spells, he boldly entered on his under- 
taking, and in a few hours brought the ghosts to a 
parley. They demanded, as a condition of future quiet 
(the sacrifice of) a body and a soul. The spectators 
(who could not see the ghosts), on being informed of 
their desire, were petrified, none being willing to become 
the victim. The cunning monk told the tremblers: 
' Bring me the body of a cock, and the sole of a shoe.' 
This being done, the spirits were forbidden to ' revisit 
the pale glimpses of the moon ' till the whole of the 
sacrifice was consumed. Thus ended the first laying of 
the Clegg Hall boggarts." 

Unfortunately, the plan of laying the ghosts adopted 
by the wily priest has not proved; permanently success- 
ful ; whether the " sacrifice" has been wholly consumed, 
or the fact that the spirit of the demand not being 



truly acceded to is the cause, is, of course, unknown, but, 
for some reason or other, the two ghosts continue to 
walk, and the belief in their appearance is as complete 
and as general as ever. 



The following account of an apparition haunting a room 
in Combermere Abbey is from Ail the Year Round, 
in which journal, however, the writer, who derived the 
story from the persons chiefly concerned, only gives 
their initials. Combermere Abbey, in Cheshire, it should 
be stated, stands in a delightful richly-timbered park, 
many of the trees being of great age and size. The 
ancient abbey was founded in the twelfth century, by 
Hugh de Malbanc, and its site was selected with the 
taste generally shown by the Cistercian order in the 
selection of sites for their habitations. It is one of the 
most romantic spots in the whole county, and is situated 
on the banks of a natural lake. This lake, at present 
about three-quarters of a mile in length, winds about 
like a river, and appears, from a general view of the 
surrounding ground, to have formerly wound round the 
back of the abbey, and thus to have formed a natural 
moat, a very needful appendage in those days to all 
buildings of any pretensions in that neighbourhood of 
Welsh marauders* 


Upon the dissolution of monasteries, in the 34th year 
of Henry the Eighth's reign, the abbey was granted to 
George Cotton, Esq., and has since been held and in- 
habited by his lineal descendants, without interruption 
down to the present day Viscount Combermere, the 
present possessor, being the representative of the family. 
A part of the ancient conventual buildings was preserved 
in the mansion which the Cottons erected on acquiring 
the property, a portion of which was the monastic re- 
fectory, now converted into a handsome library, hung 
round with ancient portraits of different members of the 
family. The antique appearance of the old walls has, 
however, been entirely destroyed by modern alterations. 

Connected with this fine old mansion is the following 
story, given in All the Year Round, on the 24th of Decem- 
ber 1870. The narrator pointedly remarks that " Direct 
ocular evidence, or the strongest circumstantial evidence, 
being the rule in courts of law, nothing is hereafter 
stated on the warrant of the writer that would not be 
considered good legal evidence. The facts come direct 
from the witnesses themselves, and were by them repeated 
to the writer." He then proceeds to state that Com- 
bermere Abbey, in Cheshire, the ancestral seat of the 
Cotton family, is the scene to which the writer invites 
the reader's attention. 

" The old part of this fine old mansion has been made 
into bed-rooms and offices, not being in keeping with 
the splendour of modern requirements. Thus, what 
used to be called the e coved saloon ' was first degraded 
into a nursery, and is now used as a bed-room. When 


the late Lord Cotton grew old, this room, in which he 
had played as a child, was occupied by his niece, Miss 
P., who before her marriage resided in the house. Lady 
Cotton's dressing-room was only divided from the ' coved 
saloon ' by a short corridor. 

" One evening Miss P. was alone, dressing for a very 
late dinner, and as she rose from her toilet-glass to get 
some article of dress, she saw standing near her bed 
a little iron one, placed out in the room away from the 
wall the figure of a child dressed in a very quaint 
frock, with an odd little ruff round its neck. For some 
moments Miss P. stood and stared, wondering how this 
strange little creature could have entered her room. 
The full glare of the candle was upon its face and figure. 
As she stood looking at it, the child began to run round 
the bed in a wild distressed way, with a look of suffering 
in its little face. 

"Miss P., still more and more surprised, walked up 
to the bed and stretched out her hand, when the child 
suddenly vanished, how or where she did not see, but 
apparently into the floor. She went at once to Lady 
Cotton's room, and inquired of her to whom the little 
girl could belong she had just seen in her room, ex- 
pressing her belief that it was supernatural, and describ- 
ing her odd dress and troubled face. 

" The ladies went down to dinner, for many guests 
were staying in the house. Lady Cotton thought and 
thought over this strange appearance. At last she re- 
membered that Lord Cotton had told her that one of 
his earliest recollections was the grief he felt at the 


sudden death of a little sister of whom he was very fond^ 
fourteen years old. The two children had been playing 
together in the nursery the same ' coved saloon ' 
running round and round the hed overnight. In the 
morning, when he woke, he was told she had died in the 
night, and he was taken by one of the nursery-maids to 
see her laid out on her little hed in the * coved saloon/ 
The sheet placed over her was removed to show him her 
face. The horror he had felt at the first sight of death 
made so vivid an impression on him that in extreme old 
age he still recalled it. The dress and face of the child, 
as described by Miss P., agreed precisely with his remem- 
brance of his sister. Both Lady Cotton and Miss P. 
related this to the writer." 


Cumnor Hall was a large, quadrangular building, 
ecclesiastical in style, having formerly belonged to the 
dissolved Monastery of Abingdon, near which Berkshire 
town it was situated. It has acquired a romantic in- 
terest from the poetic glamour flung over it by Mickle, 
in his ballad of Cumnor Hall, and by Sir Walter Scott, 
in his novel of Kenilworth. Both authors allude to it 
as the scene of Lady Amy Robsart's murder, and, al- 
though the contemporary coroner's jury pronounced the 
lady's death to have been accidental, and modern anti- 


quarians* endeavour to exonerate Lord Robert Dudley 
(afterwards Earl of Leicester) from having bad any hand 
in bis wife's tragic end, the matter is still enveloped in 

According to the evidence given before the Coroner, 
Lady Dudley, on Sunday, the 8th of September, 1560, 
had ordered all her household to go to a fair then being 
held at Abingdon. Mrs. Odingsell, her companion, had 
remonstrated with her for this order, observing that the 
day was not a proper one for decent folks to go to a 
fair; whereupon her Ladyship grew very angry, and 
said, "All her people should go."" And they went, 
leaving only Lady Dudley and two other women in the 
house. Upon their return the unfortunate lady was found 
dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs, but whether 
fallen by accident, or through suicide, or flung there by 
assassins, is, seemingly, an unfathomable mystery. 

Sir Walter Scott, taking Mickle's ballad for his 
authority, assumed that a foul murder had been com- 
mitted, and, in his romance of Kenilworth, gives the 
following dramatic but purely imaginative account of 
the affair. Lady Dudley, miscalled the Countess of 
Leicester,! is described as imprisoned in an isolated 
tower, approached only by a narrow drawbridge. Half- 
way across this drawbridge is a trap-door, so arranged 
that any person stepping upon it would be precipi- 

* Vide Canon Jackson's paper in Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine 
for May 1877, on " Amye Robsart." 

t Lord Dudley was not created Earl of Leicester until 29th Sep- 
tember 1563, three years after his wife's death. 


tated below into a darksome abyss. Varney, the chief 
villain of the novel, rides into the courtyard and gives 
a peculiar kind of whistle, which Amy recognises, and, 
deeming her husband is coming, rushes out, steps on 
the trap-door, and falls headlong down. " Look down 
into the vault," says Varney to Foster ; " what seest 
thou ? " "I see only a heap of white clothes, like a 
snow-drift," said Foster. " Oh, God ! she moves her 
arm!' "Hurl something down upon her: thy gold- 
chest, Tony, it is a heavy one." 

The imputation of this terrible crime, derived by Scott 
from Mickle, was obtained, by the latter, from Ash- 
mole's Ajitiqaities of Berkshire, the compiler of which 
work is said to have found the accusation against Lord 
Dudley in a book styled Leicester's Commonwealth, a 
publication published in 1584, four years before Dud- 
ley's death, and publicly condemned by the Privy 
Council as an infamous and scandalous libel. It is 
interesting to know that Amy Eobsart, who is believed 
to have been born at Stansfield Hall, Norfolk, a house 
which obtained a fearful notoriety some years ago as 
the scene of the murder of the Jermyns by Rush, was 
married publicly at Sheen, in Surrey, on 4th June 1550, 
instead of clandestinely, as generally stated. King 
Edward the Sixth, then only eleven years old, kept a 
little diary (preserved in the British Museum), and, 
says Canon Jackson, to whom we are indebted for much 
of the information given here, therein alludes to the 
marriage in these terms : 

" 1550, June 4. Sir Robert Dudeley, third sonne to 


th' Erie of Warwick, married S. Jon. Kobsartes 
daughter, after wich mariage, ther were certain gentle- 
men that did strive who shuld first take away a goose's 
head which was hanged alive on two cross posts." 

Although the jury and Lady Dudley's relatives agreed 
to accept the poor woman's death as accidental, the 
country folk about Cumnor would not forego their idea 
that foul play had been resorted to. Ever since the 
fatal event, the villagers have asserted that " Madam 
Dudley's ghost did use to walk in Cumnor Park, and 
that it walked so obstinately that it took no less than 
nine parsons from Oxford 'to lay her/ That they at 
last laid her in a pond, called 'Madam Dudley's Pond'; 
and, moreover, wonderful to relate, the water in that 
pond was never known to freeze afterwards." 

Notwithstanding the " laying of Madam Dudley," 
however, her apparition still contrives at intervals to 
reappear, and he is a brave, or a foolhardy man, who 
dares to visit, at nightfall, the haunts of her past life. 
Mickle's ballad is still applicable : 

" And in that Manor now no more 

Is cheerful feast and sprightly ball ; 
For ever, since that dreary hour, 
Have spirits haunted Cumnor Hall. 

" The village maids, with fearful glance, 
Avoid the ancient mossgrown wall ; 
Nor ever lead the merry dance, 

Among the groves of Oumnor Hall. 

*' Full many a traveller oft hath sighed 
And pensive wept the countess's fall, 
As, wandering onward, they espied 

The haunted towers of Cumnor Hall." 



There is, or perhaps it would be better to say, there 
was, according to the account given in Ottway's work 
on apparitions, a very ancient castle in Lancashire, near 
Liverpool, called Castle de Burgh, belonging to a family 
of that name. Some years since, Mr. de Burgh, the 
owner, died, and the castle was then let out to some of 
the tenantry, among whom was a carpenter. One even- 
ing, about two years after the death of Mr. de Burgh, as 
this carpenter was employed in his workshop, a quarter 
of a mile or so from the castle, melting glue, and only 
four of his men with him, he perceived a gentleman 
in mourning passing the lathe where the men were at 
work. He was immediately seized with a violent trem- 
bling and weakness, his hair stood on end, and a 
clammy sweat spread over his forehead. The lights 
were put out, he knew not how, and, at last, in fear and 
terror, he was obliged to return home. On his arrival 
at the castle, as he was passing up the stairs, he heard 
a footstep behind him, and, on turning round, he per- 
ceived the same apparition. He hastily entered his 
room, bolted, locked, and barred the door, but, to his 
horror and surprise, these offered no impediment to his 
ghostly visitor, for the door sprang open at his touch, 
and he entered the room ! The apparition was seen by 
various others, all of whom asserted it bore the strongest 
resemblance to their deceased master ! One gentleman 
spoke to it, and the spirit told him " that he was not 


happy." Here our information rests, and whether the 
apparition has ceased from troubling or not, we have no 
recent evidence to show. 


A considerable portion of the following account of 
Denton Hall is derived from notes and information 
kindly furnished to us by William Aubone Hoyle, 
Esquire, the present occupant of the famous old man- 
sion. From Mr. Hoyle's description we learn that the 
Hall is situated a few miles distant from Newcastle-on- 
Tyne, on the Carlisle road, and close to the site of the 
old wall of Severus. It is a venerable building, stand- 
ing on a gentle eminence, embosomed in trees. Its 
time-worn aspect amply confirms the antiquity it boasts 
of; records carrying its history back to the very begin- 
ning of the sixteenth century being extant; but the 
original building was far older. It is said to have been 
built of stones taken from the old Koman wall. The 
east and west fronts, partially overgrown with ivy, are 
of a very picturesque aspect ; the exterior of the edifice 
is a plain but interesting example of a manorial resi- 
dence of the Tudor period, with that excessive solidity 
characteristic of ancient dwellings near the Border. It 
has been stated that many of the windows, especially 
those near the ground, formerly resembled narrow 


arrow-slits, rather than apertures for the admission of 
light and air, but nothing about the Denton Hall of 
to-day affords the slightest evidence of such having ever 
been the case. 

About a century ago, while the old Hall was in the 
occupancy of the famous Mrs. Montagu, the interior 
underwent a destructive process of modernizing, being 
fitted up in the George the Third style, and many of 
its antique characteristics hidden or disfigured. The 
original windows still remain, divided into three, four, 
or five lights, by stone mullions, whilst some of the old 
carved fire-places preserve their original appearance, 
one in the kitchen being seventeen feet wide. 

This old Hall, which for several generations was the 
mansion-house of the lords of the manor in which it 
stands, is approached by a short avenue of fine old 
trees. It does not boast a very extensive prospect, but 
is surrounded by pretty gardens. The traces of a moat 
are stated to have been once discernible, but no vestige 
of it now remains. In this antique house and its 
grounds, says Mr. Hoyle, " we tread on ground which 
once knew footsteps yet more venerable than those of 
its builders. History and tradition indicate this spot 
as once occupied by the ministers of religion, and there 
is good reason to believe that a chapel was maintained 
here by the Monks of Tynemouth, when they were lords 
of this fair estate. Traces of a chapel and cemetery 
have been found in the gardens, and a carved baptismal 
font is still preserved." As is usual with nearly all 
antique buildings once used for ecclesiastical purposes, 


tradition assigns underground communications to 
Denton; a passage having existed formerly, so it is 
asserted, between the Hall and the Priory, by means of 
which the monks could quit and return to their convent, 
on business or pleasure, without being exposed to public 
observation. In the lower garden, supposed to have 
served as a cemetery for the monks, have been found at 
intervals stone coffins and other relics of its former 
occupants ; and in digging for the formation of the 
pleasure garden to the south of the Hall, steps, supposed 
to lead to a vaulted chamber, were disclosed. 

Records of families connected with the Hall extend 
back to the time of Edward the Second, in the ninth 
year of whose reign John de Denton obtained from the 
King a grant of certain lands. He died before 1325, 
but his descendants for some generations held posses- 
sion of the surrounding property. In 1380, the manor 
of Denton was assigned, by the King's license, to the 
Prior and Convent of Tynemouth, a small lien only 
being held by the original family. Shortly after the 
Eeformation the property is found to be in the hands of 
the Erringtons, a family connected by marriage with, 
and descended from the Dentons. The Erringtons took 
an active part in the affairs of the country; one of 
them, Lancelot Errington, aided by his nephew Mark, 
by a ruse capturing Holy Island Castle on behalf of 
James Stuart, the old Chevalier, in the Rebellion of 
1715. Denton next passed into the hands of a family 
named Rogers, and the last of this race dying without 
issue, in 1760, it became the property of the well-known 


Honourable Edward Montagu and the residence of his 
equally celebrated wife, the famous Mrs. Elizabeth 
Montagu. This lady resided chiefly at Denton Hall, 
or Castle as it was then frequently styled, until her 
death there in 1800, when it became the property of her 
nephew, Matthew Montagu, afterwards Lord Kokeby, in 
the possession of whose descendants it still remains. 

Mrs. Montagu, whose literary talents and beauty 
were the frequent themes of her contemporaries, and 
whose society and conversation were eagerly sought for 
by them, is recorded by Mr. W. Aubone Hoyle to have 
"resided long at Denton Hall, and during her lifetime 
caused it to be the resort of the celebrated men of that 
period : Dr. Johnson, G-oldsmith, Garrick, Sir Joshua 
Eeynolds, and other persons of renown were her guests. 
A gloomy chamber, rendered still more gloomy by 
tradition pointing to it as the especial haunt of the 
spirit of Denton Hall, is called ' Dr. Johnson's 
Chamber/ but from its window is beheld a pleasant 
landscape of field, pasture, and wood, whilst to the 
right some gigantic sycamores throw up their broad 
green foliage. A shady walk beneath lofty and 
venerable trees is seen from the window and is known 
as * Johnson's walk/ in consequence of the great 
lexicographer having been fond of its studious seclusion. 
An old bookcase and desk used by the learned moraliser 
during his visits to Denton Hall still remain in the 

" On the demise of Mrs. Montagu, some large boxes 
filled with letters were left in the attics, and these 


letters," Mr. Hoyle records, on his father entering the 
house, were found to have been burnt by the woman in 
charge. " On questioning the female Vandal as to 
her motives for the act, she replied, * Indeed, we found 
them very useful, very, for the fires and such like ; and 
they could not be very valuable, there were too many of 
a sort for that ! A vast there were ; a vast from one, 
Mr. Reynolds ! ' " 

For two or three years after the death of Mrs. Mon- 
tagu the house remained empty, till Richard Hoyle, 
Esq., of Swift Place, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, 
took up his residence there, and there his descendants 
have continued to reside, notwithstanding the fact that 
their possession of it is disputed, or rather shared, by 
a supernatural being. That Denton Hall is the abode 
of this mysterious guest is firmly believed in, even at 
the present time, not only by the vulgar folk, but by 
persons of superior education and social rank, we learn 
from indisputable evidence. 

The spirit of Denton Hall not only makes known its 
presence by sound, but also, at times, by sight. It is 
a benevolent spirit, apparently, and the old pitmen of 
the last century are stated to have averred that more 
than once they have been warned by it to fly from im- 
pending danger in the mine. " Examples, supported 
by credible testimony," remarks our informant, " are 
not wanting, in which apparitions have fulfilled some 
office of warning or mercy to beings yet amongst the 
living; and such seems to be the mission of this spirit. 
It takes the form of a woman dressed in a white silk 


dress of antique fashion, and is commonly called 
' Silky/ although also known as * Old Barbery ' ; but 
what being of other days, returned from the regions of 
silence, or what its object, are questions of mystery, 
perhaps never to be solved. A dim tradition only 
remains of a lovely girl falling a victim, by strangling, 
to the fury of a jealous sister. 

" Silky's haunts are not confined to any particular 
room, although two rooms especially have a ghostly 
reputation. She has been seen flitting along the pas- 
sages, up the stone stair-cases, and outside the house in 
the shady walks. On one occasion, to the terror of 
an old nurse, she stood silently in the doorway, barring 
the entrance ; on another, she seized the hand of a 
sleeping inmate of the house, in the middle of the night, 
and drew it towards her, leaving a touch that was felt 
with pain for days. A death in the family, however 
distant, or a warning of good or ill fortune, is frequently 
marked by her sudden appearance, apparently indiscri- 
minately, to anyone in the house ; or the same occasions 
are marked by unearthly noises. It was but lately 
(1884) that Silky was heard, apparently dragging some- 
thing through two unoccupied rooms, down a flight of 
stairs, to a window which was flung open. 

"Instances have occurred," says our correspondent, 
" of visitors having been so frightened as never to have 
returned to the house; a notable instance having 
occurred about fifty years ago, when two sisters of 
Macready, the famous actor, who were guests, came 
down one morning to breakfast, and requested to be sent 



from the house at once, declaring they would never 
revisit it. They could never be persuaded to confess 
what it was that had terrified them. 

" On another occasion the door of a bed-room has 
been noiselessly thrown open, and Silky has rustled 
into the middle of the room, with a warning arm 
extended. Silky has rarely been heard to speak, never 
by any of the present inmates of the Hall ; but tradi- 
tion tells of a visitor being addressed and warned about 
eighty years ago ; and the villagers around Denton have 
stories of a voice heard at night, of a voice warning them, 
whenever sickness or death was at any of their doors, 
and this they attribute to the kindly spirit of Silky." 

The tradition of the visitor who was addressed and 
warned at Denton Hall, may have reference to the 
account recorded in Moses Kichardson's Table Book of 
Remarkable Occurrences. From that work we learn 
that the lady to whom the spirit spoke told her experi- 
ences to Mr. Thomas Doubleday, by whom it was com- 
municated to the work mentioned. The account given 
in the Table Book has evidently undergone some 
editorial revision, and bears more trace of the roman- 
cist's art than of the amateur's diction. Somewhat 
abridged, the story ascribed to the lady is as follows: 

" A day or two after my arrival at Denton Hall, 
when all around was yet new to me, I had accom- 
panied my friends to a bal] given by a gentleman in 
the neighbourhood, and returned heartily fatigued, 
though much delighted. At this time I need not 
blush, nor you smile, when I say that on that even- 


ing I had met, for the second time, one with whose des- 
tinies mv own were doomed to become connected, and 
that his attentions to me from that period became too 
marked and decided to be either evaded or misunder- 

" I think I was sitting upon an antique carved chair, 
near to the fire, in the room where I slept, busied in 
arranging my hair, and probably thinking over some 
of the events of a scene doomed to be so important to 
me. Whether I had dropped into a half slumber, as 
most persons endeavour to persuade me, I cannot 
pretend to say ; but on looking up for I had my face 
bent towards the fire there seemed sitting on a similar 
high-backed chair on the other side of the ancient 
tiled fire-place, an old lady, whose air and dress were 
so remarkable that to this hour they seem as fresh in 
my memory as they were the day after the vision. She 
appeared to be dressed in a flowered satin gown, of a 
cut then out of date. It was peaked and long-waisted. 
The fabric of the satin had that extreme of glossy stiff- 
ness which old fabrics of this kind exhibit. She wore 
a stomacher. On her wrinkled fingers appeared some 
rings of great size and seeming value ; but, what was 
most remarkable, she wore also a satin hood of a peculiar 
shape. It was glossy like the gown, but seemed to be 
stiffened either by whalebone or some other material. 
Her age seemed considerable, and the face, though not 
unpleasant, was somewhat hard and severe and indented 
with minute wrinkles. I confess that so entirely was 
my attention engrossed by what was passing in my 



mind, that, though I felt mightily confused, I was not 
startled (in the emphatic sense) by the apparition. In 
fact, I deemed it to be some old lady, perhaps a house- 
keeper, or dependant in the family, and, therefore, 
though rather astonished, was by no means frightened 
by my visitant, supposing me to be awake, which I am 
convinced was the case, though few persons believe me 
on this point. 

" My own impression is that I stared somewhat 
rudely, in the wonder of the moment, at the hard, but 
lady-like, features of my aged visitor. But she left me 
small time to think, addressing me in a familiar half- 
whisper and with a constant restless motion of the hand 
which aged persons, when excited, often exhibit in 
addressing the young. 'Well, young lady,' said my 
mysterious companion, * and so you 've been at yon hall 
to-night! and highly ye've been delighted there ! Yet 
if ye could see as I can see, or could know as I can 
know, troth ! I guess your pleasure would abate. 'Tis 
well for you, young lady, peradventure, ye see not with 
my eyes ' and at the moment, sure enough, her eyes, 
which were small, grey, and in no way remarkable, 
twinkled with a light so severe that the effect was un- 
pleasant in the extreme : ' 'Tis well for you and them,' 
she continued, ' that ye cannot count the cost. Time 
was when hospitality could be kept in England, and the 
guest not ruin the master of the feast but that 's all 
vanished now : pride and poverty pride and poverty, 
young lady, are an ill-matched pair, Heaven kens ! ' My 
tongue, which had at first almost faltered in its office, 


riow found utterance. Bv a kind of instinct, I addressed 
my strange visitant in her own manner and humour. 
1 And are we, then, so much poorer than in days of yore? ' 
were the words that I spoke. My visitor seemed half 
startled at the sound of my voice, as at something unac- 
customed, and went on, rather answering my question by 
implication than directly : ' 'Twas not all hollowness 
then,' she exclaimed, ceasing somewhat her hollow 
whisper; ' the land was then the lord's, and that which 
seemed, was. The child, young lady, was not then 
mortgaged in the cradle, and, mark ye, the bride, when 
she kneeled at the altar, gave not herself up, body and 
soul, to be the bondswoman of the Jew, but to be the 
help-mate of the spouse.'' ' The Jew ! ' I exclaimed in 
surprise, for then I understood not the allusion. * Ay, 
young lady ! the Jew,' was the rejoinder. * 'Tis plain 
ye know not who rules. 'Tis all hollow yonder ! all 
hollow, all hollow ! to the very glitter of the side-board 
all false ! all false ! all hollow ! Away with such make- 
believe finery ! ' And here again the hollow voice rose 
a little, and the dim grey eye glistened. * Ye mortgage 
the very oaks of your ancestors I saw the planting 
of them ; and now 'tis all painting, gilding, varnishing 
and veneering. Houses call ye them ? Whited sepul- 
chres, young lady, whited sepulchres. Trust not all 
that seems to glisten. Fair though it seems, 'tis but 
the product of disease even as is that pearl in your 
hair, young lady, that glitters in the mirror yonder, 
not more specious than is all, ay, all ye have seen 


" As my strange visitor pronounced these words, I 
instinctively turned my gaze to a large old-fashioned 
mirror that leaned from the wall of the chamber, 
'Twas but for a moment. But when I again turned 
my head, my visitant was no longer there ! I heard 
plainly, as I turned, the distinct rustle of the silk, as if 
she had risen and was leaving the room. I seemed dis- 
tinctly to hear this, together with the quick, short, easy 
footstep with which females of rank at that period were 
taught to glide rather than to walk ; this I seemed to 
hear, but of what appeared the antique old lady I saw no 
more. The suddenness and strangeness of thi3 event 
for a moment sent the blood back to my heart. Could 
I have found voice I should, I think, have screamed, 
but that was, for a moment, beyond my power. A few 
seconds recovered me. By a sort of impulse I rushed 
to the door, outside which I now heard the footsteps of 
some of the family, when, to my utter astonishment, I 
found it was locked ! I now recollected that I myself 
locked it before sitting down. 

" Though somewhat ashamed to give utterance to 
what I really believed as to this matter, the strange 
adventure of the night was made a subject of conversa- 
tion at the breakfast-table next morning. On the words 
leaving my lips, I saw my host and hostess exchange 
looks with each other, and soon found that the tale I 
had to tell was not received with the air which generally 
meets such relations. I was not repelled by an angry 
or ill-bred incredulity, or treated as one of diseased 
fancy, to whom silence is indirectly recommended as the 


alternative of being laughed at. In short, it was not 
attempted to be concealed or denied that I was not the 
first who had been alarmed in a manner, if not exactly 
similar, yet just as mysterious ; that visitors, like my- 
self, had actually given way to these terrors so far as to 
quit the house in consequence ; and that servants were 
sometimes not to be prevented from sharing in the same 
contagion. At the same time they told me this, my host 
and hostess declared that custom and continued residence 
had long exempted all regular inmates of the mansion 
from any alarms or terrors. The visitations, whatever 
they were, seemed to be confined to new-comers, and 
to them it was by no means a matter of frequent 

" In the neighbourhood, I found, this strange story 
was well known ; that the house was regularly set down 
as ' haunted,' all the country round, and that the spirit, 
or goblin, or whatever it was that was embodied in these 
appearances, was familiarly known by the name of 

" At a distance, those to whom I have related my 
night's adventure have one and all been sceptical, and 
accounted for the whole by supposing me to have been 
half asleep, or in a state resembling somnambulism. All 
I can say is, that my own impressions are directly con- 
trary to this supposition ; and that I feel as sure that I 
saw the figure that sat before me with my bodily eyes, 
as I am sure I now see you with them. Without affect- 
ing to deny that I was somewhat shocked by the adven- 
ture, I must repeat that I suffered no unreasonable 


alarm, nor suffered my fancy to overcome my better 
spirit of womanhood. 

" I certaiDly slept no more in that room, and in that 
to which I removed I had one of the daughters of my 
hostess as a companion ; but I have never, from that 
hour to this, been convinced that I did not actually 
encounter something more than is natural if not an 
actual being in some other state of existence. My ears 
have not been deceived, if my eyes were which, I 
repeat, I cannot believe. 

" The warnings so strongly shadowed forth have been 
too true. The gentleman at whose house I that night 
was a guest has long since filled an untimely grave ! 
In that splendid hall, since that time, strangers have 
lorded it and I myself have long ceased to think of 
such scenes as I partook of that evening the envied 
object of the attention of one whose virtues have sur- 
vived the splendid inheritance to which he seemed 

" Whether this be a tale of delusion and superstition, 
or something more than that, it is, at all events, not 
without a legend for its foundation. There is some 
obscure and dark rumour of secrets strangely obtained 
and enviously betrayed by a rival sister, ending in de- 
privation of reason, and death; and that the betrayer 
still walks by times in the deserted Hall which she ren- 
dered tenantless, always prophetic of disaster to those 
she encounters. So has it been with me, certainly ; and 
more than me, if those who say it say true. It is many, 
many years since I saw the scene of this adventure ; but 


I have heard that since that time the same mysterious 
visitings have been more than once renewed ; that mid- 
night curtains have been drawn by an arm clothed in 
rustling silks ; and the same form, clad in dark 
brocade, has been seen gliding along the dark corridors 
of that ancient, grey, and time-worn mansion, ever 
prophetic of death or misfortune." 


On the southern slope of a picturesque valley, through 
which the Washburn pours its waters, stands the ruins 
of Dobb Park Lodge ; a lofty, four-storied mansion of 
the Tudor period. About half of the original building 
is supposed to have been pulled down, not to have been 
destroyed by the slow processes of time, and the remainder 
to have been left standiDg > though uninhabitable. In 
its pristine state the lodge must have been an elegant 
and spacious pile, and even now, ruined and deserted as 
it is, it is a picturesque feature in the romantic scenery 
around. There are some singular traits in the building, 
as, for instance, the fact that, apparently, the only 
means of access to its interior was by a winding stair in 
a projecting turret in the rear. Of the southern front 
of the residence one half remains, and contains square 
windows of two lights each, divided by a transom. 
Over the lower, relates a correspondent, is a cornice 


embracing both, supported by brackets, ornamented 
with armorial shields, charged with quoits or circular 
discs. In the centre are the remains of a projecting 
semi-circular window. Who lived in this strange and 
romantically situated abode history tells not. Shaw, 
the historian of Wharfedale, says : " There was a court 
held in it long after it was dilapidated, called Dog 
Court, belonging to the Duchy of Lancaster/' and that 
appears to be all that is known of it; although this same 
authority supposes, omitting all account of its Tudor 
architecture, that it was erected about the same time as 
Barden Lodge, a building in existence in 1311. 

But if history has neglected Dobb Park Lodge, 
tradition has not overlooked it; and, amongst other 
remarkable stories of it, records that the place is 
haunted by a strange being known as " The Talking 
Dog." The tale of this marvellous spectre bears a 
likeness to a well-known Manx, and some other equally 
famous legends ; it has been related to us by Mr. 
William Grainge, of Harrogate, who obtained it from 
" a lover of forest lore, a collector and preserver of all 
that belongs thereto " ; but it was taken down in the 
dialect of the neighbourhood, and to render it compre- 
hensible to the general reader it will be necessary to 
translate it into the ordinary vernacular. The legend 
is as follows. 

At the foot of the winding stair already alluded to is 
a doorway (now choked with rubbish) leading into a 
dungeon. The country folks thereabouts believe this 
doorway to be the entrance to one of those mysterious 


passages, so generally ascribed to old ruins, which lead 
to some strangely terrible cavern, or other abode of 
horror. Such unearthly noises were heard to issue 
from this subterranean place that no one ventured to 
explore its mysteries; until at length a countryman, one 
of those ne'er-do-wells who are ever ready to risk what 
respectable people prudently shrink from, determined 
to examine it thoroughly, and, in order to fortify him- 
self for the arduous task, he imbibed a no small quantum 
of potent stimulant. 

Thus invigorated, the local Columbus seized his 
lanthorn, bravely entered the passage, and instantly 
disappeared in its gloomy recesses. His neighbours 
and admirers lingered about the place in expectation 
of his speedy return, but his absence was so prolonged 
that they became seriously alarmed. At length, when 
they had all given him up for lost, he reappeared, but 
in a most wretched, abject, and terrified condition. 
Some long time afterwards, when he had recovered from 
his fright, he was induced to give a recital of his adven- 
tures, and his account was this : 

" Aiter leaving the doorway, I went for a long dis- 
tance, rambling and scrambling, turning and twisting 
about the crooked passages, until I thought I should 
get to no place at all. So I began to feel rather dazed 
and tired like, and had some thoughts of turning back 
again, when, suddenly, the sweetest music that ever I 
had heard, in all my born days, struck up right before 
me. I couldn't have turned back then if I had wanted 
to ever so much, for the sound charmed me completely. 


I had never felt so lightsome before, and feared nothing, 
and could have gone anywhere. I followed up where 
the music seemed to come from, thinking I should come 
to it at last, but I was wrong ; I have never seen the 
players to this very day. I kept following the sound 
until at last I came to what seemed to be a great, long, 
high, wide room, as big as any church, and bigger than 
some. At one side of it was a great lire blazing away 
as bright as the sunshine; and either it, or something 
else, made everything glitter like gold. 

"Thinks I to myself, this is a grand place, and no 
mistake ! But what struck me more than all was a 
great, black, rough dog, as big as any two or three 
mastiffs, which stood before the fire, and appeared to be 
the master of the place, for not another living creature 
beside it could I see. I was troubled to make him 
out; I had heard tell of ' barguests,'* but had never 
seen one, and thought this might be one of them. At 
last, by all that is true, if the thing did not open its 
mouth and speak ! Not bark like a dog, as it ought to 
have done, but talked just like one of ourselves. Didn't 
I feel queer now ! I think I just did. That did for 
me more than all the rest. I wished myself safe out 
again, and over the mile bridge. It said: * Now, my 
man, as you 've come here, you must do one of three 
things, or you '11 never see daylight again. You must 
either drink all the liquor there is in that glass ; open 
that chest ; or draw that sword.' 

A provincial name for spectres. 


''I looked, and there I saw a strange, great chest, 
seemingly bound with iron bands, and with two or 
three great iron locks on it. At the top of that chest 
was placed a fine great glass, with a long stem, full of 
the nicest-looking drinking-stuff that ever I saw. 
Above that, on a peg, or something of the sort, against 
the wall was hung what he called the sword a great, 
long, broad, heavy, ugly thing, nearly as long as 

" I looked them all over and over, and over again, 
considering which job to do, for I dursn't, for the life 
of me, think of not doing what that dog bade me. The 
chest looked much too strong for me to open besides, 
T had no tools with me that would be likely to open it 
with ; and, as for the sword, I knew nought about sword 
work, I had never held one in mv life, and should be 
quite as likely to cut myself as anyone else with it, 
so I thought I would let it alone. Then there was 
naught but the drink left for me, and I began to feel 
rather dryish, what with rambling about the place so 
long, and what with the drop of drink I had before I 
started ; so, says I to myself, ' Here goes at the drink ! ' 
I took hold of the glass with my hand, the dog all the 
time glowering at me with all the eves he had ; and, I 
assure you, he bad two woppers saucers are not so big ; 
thev were more like pewter plates, and gleamed and 
glittered like fire. 

"I lifted the glass up to my mouth and just touched 
my lips with the stuff, to taste before I gave a big swig ; 
when, would you believe it? it scalded just like boiling 


water, or burnt like fire itself. All the skin 's cff my 
lips and tongue-end with it yet. If I 'd swallowed all 
the lot it would have burned my inside clean out, and I 
should have been as hollow as a drum ; but I stopped 
short of that, or else I should have made a bonnie mess 
of it. I just tasted the stuff, but what it was I cannot 
tell ; it was not the colour of aquafortis, but it was 
quite as hot. As soon as ever I tasted it, up flew the 
lid of the chest with a bonnie bang ; and I do declare 
if it didn't seem to be as full of gold as ever it could 
cram : I 'd be bound to say there were thousands upon 
thousands of pounds in that very chest. But I 'm no 
better for that, nor ever shall be, for I '11 never go there 
any more. The sword, at the same time, was drawn by 
somebody's hand that I didn't see, and it glittered and 
flashed like lightning. I banged the glass down, and 
don't know whether it broke or not, but all the stuff 
was spilt. In a minute after all was dark as pitch ; the 
fire went out; my lantern had gone out before; the 
music gave over playing, and instead of it such a howl- 
ing and yelling struck up and filled the place as I 'd 
never heard in my time ; it seemed as if hundreds of 
dogs were all getting walloped at once ; and something 
besides screamed and yelled as if it were frightened out 
of its wits. Oh, it was awful ! I fell down flat on the 
floor, I think in a swoon, and I could not have done 
better, How long I lay I cannot tell, but for a goodish 
bit, I think. At last I came to myself, rubbed my eyes, 
and glowered about me, and wondered where I was. At 
last I bethought myself, and scrambled up, and after a 


great deal of ups and downs, I got my carcase dragged 
out ; and now, you may depend upon it, you '11 not eaten 
me going in there any more of a sudden." 

Such, says Mr. Grainge, was the result of the search 
for hidden treasure in the ruined vaults of Dobb Park 
Lodge. Since that time no one appears to have ven- 
tured into those subterranean recesses, so that the chest 
full of gold still remains, waiting for some explorer to 
brave the terrors of " The Talking Dog" and his sur- 


Who, knowing anything of Cornwall, but is acquainted 
with Tregeagle, the Demon of Dosmery Pool, on 
Bodmin Downs ? How long he has haunted " Old 
Cornwall" is difficult to sav: but his terrible howling, 
when the wintry blast rushes over the Downs, is pro- 
verbial, and "to roar like Tregeagle" is a time-honoured 
saying. Mr. R. Hunt, in his interesting Popular 
Romances of the West of England, recounts many 
exploits of this famous spirit, whose voice is still 
heard, and whose shadowy form is even still seen, when 
the winds are at their highest and the nights are the 
most stormy. 

"Who has not heard of the wild spirit of Tregeagle ? ' 
asks Mr. Hunt. " He haunts equally the moor, the 


rocky coasts, and the blown sand-hills of Cornwall. 
From north to south, from east to west, this doomed 
spirit is heard of, and to the Day of Judgment he is 
doomed to wander, pursued by avenging fiends. For 
ever endeavouring to perform some task by which he 
hopes to secure repose, and being for ever defeated. 
Who has not heard of the howling of Tregeagle ? 
When the storms come with all their strength from 
the Atlantic, and urge themselves upon the rocks around 
Land's End, the howls of the spirit are louder than the 
roaring of the winds. When calm rests upon the 
ocean, and the waves can scarcely form upon the resting 
waters, low wailings creep along the coast. These are 
the wailings of this wandering soul. 

"When midnight is on the moor, or on the moun- 
tains, and the night winds whistle amidst the rugged 
cairns, the shrieks of Tregeagle are distinctly heard. 
We know that he is pursued by the demon dogs, and 
that till day-break he must fly with all speed before 

This Tregeagle, whose attributes are so mysterious 
and, according to the district where related, so varied, 
is traditionally reported to be the spirit of a " tyrannical 
magistrate," a "rapacious and unscrupulous landlord/* 
who was " one of the Tregeagles who once owned Tre- 
vorcler, near Bodmin." At the demise of this hardened 
sinner, who had committed more crimes than the deca- 
logue contained, the foul fiend wished to at once obtain 
possession of what he deemed rightly his, to wit, the 
criminal's soul ; but the wretched man, in the agony of 


despair, consigned his -wealth to the priesthood, that 
they might fight with the evil spirits, and save his soui 
from its just doom. 

The power of the priesthood so far prevailed, that as 
long as Tregeagle's spirit had "some task difficult 
beyond the power of human nature " to perform, demo- 
niac agency should be unable to carry him away. His 
tasks were to extend into eternity, so that repentance 
might have time to gradually work out his sin. His 
only chance of ultimate salvation was in perpetual toil: 
as long as he continued his labour the demons could do 
him no real harm. Frequent were the tussles he had 
with the fiends : on one occasion his restless spirit is 
said to have even given evidence in a court of law, 
when his relentless pursuers vainly endeavoured to carry 
him off. 

Tregeagle's first and most famous task was the empty- 
ing of Dosmery Pool, a mountain tarn, some miles in 
circumference; and local lore would have he is still 
engaged upon this endless operation. The difficulty of 
this gigantic labour was increased by the supposed fact 
that the lonely pool was bottomless ; and yet one 
learned ecclesiastic was not convinced of the hopeless- 
ness of the work, and, to decrease the prospect of it 
ever coming to an end, he proposed that the wretched 
sinner should only be provided with a limpet shell, with 
a large hole in it, for the purpose of baling out the 
water. The Evil One did not lose sight of the doomed 
Tregeagle, but kept a careful eye on him, and tried 
ivery possible means to divert his attention from his 



task, in order that he might make him his prey. Still 
the hapless spirit continued to toil, although on one 
occasion the fiends almost overcame him. Mr. Hunt's 
graphic account of the terrific struggle is as follows : 

"Lightnings flashed and coiled like fiery snakes 
around the rocks of Houghton. Fire-balls fell on the 
desert moors and hissed in the accursed lake. Thun- 
ders pealed through the heavens, and echoed from hill 
to hill ; an earthquake shook the solid earth, and terror 
was on all living. The winds rose and raged with a 
fury which was irresistible, and hail beat so mercilessly 
on all things that it spread death around. Long did 
Tregeagle stand the ' pelting of the pitiless storm,' but 
at length he yielded to its force and fled. The demons 
in crowds were at his heels. He doubled, however, 
on his pursuers and returned to the lake ; but so rapid 
were they that he could not rest the required moment 
to clip his shell in the now seething waters. Three 
times he fled round the lake, and the evil ones pursued 
him. Then, feeling that there was no safety for him 
near Dosmery Pool, he sprang swifter than the wind 
across it, shrieking with agony, and thus since the 
devils cannot cross water, and were obliged to go round 
the lake he gair ed on them and fled over the moor. 
Away, away wen( Tregeagle, faster and faster, the dark 
spirits pursuing, and they had nearly overtaken him, 
when he saw Roach Rock and its chapel before him. 
He rushed up the rocks, with giant power clambered 
to the eastern window, and dashed his head through it, 
thus securing the shelter of its sanctity. The defeated 


demons retired, and long and loud were their wild wail- 
ings in the air. The inhabitants of the moors and of 
the neighbouring towns slept not a wink that night." 

But the baling out Dosmery Pool was by no means 
the only task assigned to Tregeagle's unresting spirit. 
One labour, on the shore near Padstow, was to make 
trusses of sand and ropes of sand with which to bind up 
the trusses. Each recurring tide swept away the result 
of his toil, and, according to the tradition, " the ravings 
of the baffled soul were louder than the roarings of the 
winter tempest." By priestly influence Tregeagle was 
emoved to the estuary of the Loo, and ordered to carry 
sand across to Porthleven, A malicious demon con- 
trived to trip him up, and the contents of his enormous 
sack supplied the material of the sand-bank out of which 
was formed the bar that destroyed the harbour. 

Land's End was eventually assigned to Tregeagle as 
a place of labour, a place where, as Mr. Hunt says, " he 
would find no harbour to destroy, and few people to 
terrify. His task was to sweep the sands from Porth- 
curnow Cove round the headland called Tol-Peden- 
Penwith, into Nanjisal Cove. Those who know that 
rugged headland, with its cubical masses of granite 
piled in Titantic grandeur one upon another, will appre- 
ciate the task ; and when to all the difficulties are added 
the strong sweep of the Atlantic current, that portion 
of the Gulf stream which washes our southern shores, 
it will be evident that the melancholy spirit has. indeed, 
a task which must endure to the world's end. Even 
until to-day is Tregeagle labouring at his task. In 



calms his wailing is heard ; and those sounds which 
some call the ' soughing of the wind,' are known to be 
the moanings of Tregeagle ; while the coming storms 
are predicted by the fearful roarings of this condemned 

But these excerpts from Mr. Hunt's account by no 
means exhaust the deeds or doings of this supernatural 
being, a thorough belief in whose continual existence is 
prevalent throughout the length and breadth of old 
Cornwall. Alluding to the widely diffused belief of a 
spectre huntsman, whose wild chase permeates the 
legends of so many lands, Mr. Hunt remarks, " The 
tradition of the Midnight Hunter and his headless 
hounds, always in Cornwall associated with Tregeagle, 
prevails everywhere. The Abbot's Way, on Dartmoor, 
an ancient road which extends into Cornwall, is said to 
be the favourite coursing ground of the ' wish hounds 
of Dartmoor,' called also the * yell hounds.' " 

These "yell" or "yeth hounds" form the theme of 
the beautiful fragmentary "Legend of Dartmoor," bv 
the late Oliver Madox Brown, a legend which the highly 
talented youth left, unfortunately, unfinished. 


Old Edinburgh was full of quaint, narrow, anti- 
quated passages, some of which still exist, and these 
''Closes," as they are locally called, contained numerous 


houses bearing the reputation of being haunted. Mar) 
King's Close was noted for the many terrible appa- 
ritions which had found suitable quarters within its 
mouldering dwellings. Mary King's Close has dis- 
appeared to make way for modern erections; but just 
two centuries ago, that is to say, in 1685, it was a 
well-to-do thoroughfare, the residence of a respectable 
class of people. George Sinclair, Professor of Moral 
Philosophy in the University of Glasgow, and after- 
wards minister of Eastwood, in Renfrewshire, a con- 
temporary of the events he refers to, gives the following 
account, in Satan's Invisible World Discovered, of 
some terrible apparitions in Mary King's Close, in the 
house of Mr. Thomas Coltheart, a respectable law agent. 
Mr. Coltheart' s business having improved, he removed 
into a superior residence in the Close above-named. 
Having been warned by some kind neighbour that the 
house was haunted, the maid-servant decamped in haste, 
and left Mr. Coltheart and his wife to manage as they 
best could. On Sunday afternoon Mr. Coltheart, being 
unwell, retired to rest, whilst his wife seated herself at 
his bedside and read the Scriptures. Happening to 
raise her eves, she was intensely horrified to behold the 
head of an old man, with grey floating beard, suspended 
in the air but a short distance oft', gazing at her intently 
with weird, fixed glare. She swooned at the sight, and 
remained in an insensible condition until the neighbours 
came back from church. Her husband did his best to 
reason her out of her credulity, and the evening passed 
without anything further taking place. 


They had not been in bed long, however, before Mr. 
Coltheart also beheld the phantom head, floating in 
mid-air, and surveying him with ghostly eyes. He got 
up and lit a candle, and then betook himself to prayer. 
An hour passed, when the spectre head was joined by 
that of a child, also suspended in the air, followed 
speedily by an arm naked from the elbow, which, despite 
the lawyer's pious ejaculations, seemed to wish to shake 
hands with him and his wife ! In vain did Mr. Colt- 
heart conjure the phantoms to entrust him with the 
story of their grievances, so that he might have their 
wrongs rectified : all was useless. They seemed to 
regard him and his wife as intruders, and to wish them 
away. Other phantoms joined them, including that of 
a dog, which curled itself up on a chair, and seemed to 
go to sleep ! Others some of a most horrifying and 
monstrous form appeared, until the whole room 
swarmed with them : and the unfortunate couple were 
compelled to take refuge on the bed. Suddenly, 
with a deep and awful groan, all the apparitions 
vanished, and the pious lawyer and his wife were left 
in peace. 

After such a terrifying house-warming, one would 
suppose that Mr. and Mrs. Coltheart would have got 
out of the house as quickly as possible ; but such was 
not the case. The brave couple, if Professor Sinclair 
is to be relied on, continued to reside in the place 
for many years, and till the day of Mr. Coltheart's 
death, without anv further molestation from the 


About the time of Mr. Coltheart's death, a strange 
circumstance happened. A client of his who lived at 
Tranent, ten miles from Edinburgh, was aroused in the 
night by a nurse, who had been affrighted by " some- 
thing like a cloud moving about the room." Starting 
up, the gentleman instinctively seized his sword, when 
he was confronted by the face and form of his legal 
adviser and friend, Thomas Coltheart. " Are you 
dead ? " he demanded ; " what is your errand ? 
whereupon the apparition shook its head twice, and 
melted away. The gentleman started at once for Edin- 
burgh, and proceeded directly to his friend's house in 
Mary King's close, and on arriving there found Mrs. 
Coltheart bewailing her husband's recent death. 


Eastbury House, Tarrant Grrenville, near Blandford, 
owing to the galaxy of famous names surrounding its 
story, must take a prominent place among the haunted 
homes of the country. Its career as a residence was 
short but brilliant. It has been celebrated both in prose 
and verse by poets and prosateurs, and, for the space of 
three lustra or so, was the glory of Dorset. Thomp- 
son introduced it in his Seasons, in "Autumn." After 
alluding to its " green delightful walks," "where simple 


nature reigns," he alluded to its more artificial beauties, 
and apostrophizes them thus, 

The grandeur of thy lofty dome, 
Far-splendid, seizes on the ravished eye, 
New beauties rise with each revolving day ; 
New columns swell ; and still the fresh Spring finds 
New plants to quicken, and new groves to green. 
Full of thy genius all ! the Muses' seat : 
Where in the secret bower, and winding walk, 
For virtuous Young and thee they twine the bay. 

George Bubb Dodington (afterwards Lord Melcombe) 
of Diary fame, whose seat it was, and in whose secret 
bowers and winding walks he and Night Thoughts 
Young were to be so pleasantly arrayed by the Muses, 
made Eastbury a meeting-place for the wit and literati 
of the day. Young, Thompson, and Fielding were 
among the crowd of notables, who enjoyed its pleasures. 
The last resided at Eastbury some time, and thence 
dated some of his works. In later days it was visited 
by Beck ford, and its ruins were celebrated in verse by 
Samuel Marsh Oram, a local writer, of some temporary 
if transient repute, who died at the early age of 

Eastbury was begun by Bubb Dodington in 1718. 
The future Lord Melcombe had projected the house 
and grounds on a scale of great magnificence ; but when 
little beyond some less important out-houses had been 
completed, the work was discontinued, and for six 
years everything remained at a standstill. Eventually 
the building was resumed and carried on at an enor- 
mous expenditure the total outlay up to 1738, when 


the house was completed, being stated as one hundred 
and forty thousand pounds, a far higher sum at that 
time than now-a-days. The park and grounds were 
laid out on the same magnificent scale as the house, 
no expense being spared; trees half a century old, and 
some tons in weight, were transported bodily from dis- 
tant woods and replanted at Eastbury. 

In 1763, a change came over the scene, and Eastbury 
House was destroyed even more rapidly than it had been 
created; all the rooms were dismantled, and the splendid 
furniture scattered to the winds. Twelve years later 
the ruin was consummated, the house being pulled 
down, and the beautiful and costly materials disposed 
of; one wing only was left in naked grandeur, and that 
still exists, but let in tenements to the day-labourers 
of the Farquh arson estate. 

It is little to be wondered at, says Miss Billington, 
to whom we are chiefly indebted for this account of 
Eastbury, that a place possessing so chequered a his- 
tory should bear the reputation of being haunted. The 
ghostly legend attached to the house is said to be firmly 
believed in by the inhabitants of Grenville and its 
neighbourhood, and is to the following effect. Lord 
Melcombe advanced considerable sums of money, vaguely 
spoken of now, says Miss Billington, as " many thou- 
sands," to his steward William Doggett. The greater 
part of this loan Doggett is said to have parted with to 
a brother, who got into " difficulties/' and was utterly 
powerless to repay it. In course of time Lord Melcombe 
required repayments of his money, and Doggett, unable 


to comply with the demand, was reduced to great ex- 

" I am not aware of the exact date at which this took 
place," says Miss Billington, ""but it must have been 
during the destruction of the house, as the only expe- 
dient Doggett could find to meet his liabilities was to 
appropriate some of the building materials and sell 
them on his own account. Shortly before Lord Mel- 
combe came down to receive his money, Doggett's 
courage failed ; probably he had a much smaller sum 
with which to repay his master than he owed ; he could 
not pay him, and, therefore, shot himself. 

" It was in a marble-floored room that Doggett com- 
mitted suicide, and it is said the stains of his blood are 
still visible. I was told a propos of this," says our 
correspondent, "that the blood-stains of murder or 
suicide are ineffaceable. 

" Since this tragedy, Doggett's ghost has lingered 
about Eastbury, and the tradition is that, headless, he 
drove about the park in a spectral coach and four 
driven by a coachman in livery. No doubt," is the 
lady's reflection, " the troubled spirit derived a bitter 
satisfaction from contemplation of the decayed grandeur 
of the once proud house, now reduced to scarcely a 
shadow of its former grandeur. But it is many years 
now since the apparition has made itself visible, though 
the taint of ghostly inhabitation still clings to the 
remaining wing of the house. On dark nights, when 
all else is still, mysterious movements are heard, the 
doors open and shut unaccountably, pointing to the 


inference that the troubled spirit has not yet served its 
term of earthly wanderings. 

" It may not be inappropriate to add," remarks Miss 
Billington, " that about forty years ago, the old church 
at Grenville was pulled down, and a new one erected 
on the same spot : the contractors, wishing to fulfil 
their undertaking as cheaply as possible, caused the old 
vaults to be destroyed and their brickwork utilized. 
The old man who told me much of this story, said it 
ell to his share to pull Doggett's vault to pieces. They 
found the self-murdered man's body in fair preservation, 
and the course of the bullet from the jaw through the 
head was distinctly visible. The old man described 
him as ' a short ginger-haired man.' His legs had been 
tied together with a broad yellow ribbon, which was as 
fresh and brightly coloured as when it was buried. My 
informant added that he had abstracted a piece of the 
ribbon, and a lock of the hair, which he had kept as 
curiosities for many years, and much regretted that he 
had not got them still to show to me." 

And thus Eastbury, with all its much-vaunted magni- 
ficence, the palatial home of the vivacious Bubb Dod- 
ington, and the erstwhile staying-place of Fielding and 
Thompson, of Young and his famous contemporaries, 
is known only now as having been the house where a 
fraudulent servant committed suicide ! 



Major Edward Moor, the author, among other works, 
of the Hindu Pantheon, in its day a valued authority 
upon Indian antiquities, in 1841 published a brochure 
on the " Bealing Bells." This little hook not only 
furnished a full account of the disturbances ascribed 
to supernatural agency at Bealing, but also gave par- 
ticulars, derived from various correspondents, of similar 
manifestations that had occurred in different parts of 
the country. There is no need of referring to the 
acrimonious controversy between the believers and 
sceptics which the publication of Major Moor's little 
book aroused, our present purpose being merely to 
cite from the Appendix to it the following account of the 
hauntinffs at Ewshott House. 


In "Bealing Bells," it may be mentioned, the names 
of the persons and places hereafter referred to, are left 
blank ; but by means of a copy annotated, probably, by 
Major Moor, and assisted by private inquiry, they are 
now, for the first time, filled in. The local topo- 
graphical and historical data, it should be mentioned, 
are the result of independent research, and are not 
derived from Major Moor's suggestive little work. 

Ewshott House, or Itchell, as it was formerly called, 
is in the parish of Crondall, in Hampshire. It is a 
respectable old manor-house, and in very early times 
was the principal residence of the GifTords, one of the 
most ancient and eminent families in Hampshire ; some 


of them filled the office of sheriff of the coimtv in a 
period ranging from the reign of Henry VI. to that of 
Elizabeth. It was afterwards a seat of the Bathursts, 
and was in their possession for several generations. 
About the year 1680 the chief part of the ancient 
mansion seems to have been pulled down, and the pre- 
sent house erected in its place. The remaining portion 
of the old house was allowed to stand, separated only 
by a party wall, and was let as a farm-house to the 
tenant of the adjoining property. 

The estate came into the possession of Mr. Lefroy 
in the year 1818 ; by which time Ewshott had already 
acquired the reputation of being "haunted." The 
writer of the account which Major Moor gives, and 
whom he describes as a gentleman of unimpeachable 
veracity, and as deservedly held in high estimation, 
says: "Many tales were told among the neighbouring 
villagers of uncouth sights and sounds, from which it 
gained that ill repute. It was not until 1823 that Mr. 
Lefroy's family resided constantly at Ewshott. During 
their occasional visits there the peculiar noises of which 
I am about to speak were often heard ; but from the 
circumstances above related of the old house, which 
joined the back part of the new, being occupied by a 
farm establishment, they were thought nothing of; being 
attributed by the family in the mansion to their neigh- 
bours in the farm, and by the inhabitants of the farm 
to their neighbours in the mansion ; each party wonder- 
ing exceedingly what the other could be doing at so 
late au hour as that at which the sounds were heard. 


" About fifteen years ago," said this correspondent, 
" the old farm-house was taken down, to be rebuilt at 
a greater distance from the mansion. During the pro- 
gress of this work a man was constantly employed in 
watching round the premises, to guard the timber. 
This man has often solemnly declared that as he went 
his rounds he saw . . . . ! But this may have been 
fancy, and I believe it was ; the poor man's ears having 
inspired his eyes with an unnatural susceptibility of 
vision. But what he heard was not to be mistaken. 
It was the same the family had heard for years ; and 
have heard, almost nightly, ever since. He described 
it, 'as a great thumping noise, as if someone was beat- 
ing heavy blows with a great mallet in the hall/ The 
hall is exactly in the centre of the house, over against 
the spot where the old farm-house stood, and there- 
fore very near to the place where he watched. 
This is as good a description as can be given of the 
peculiar sound, which is known familiarly as the ghost. 
In the dead of night, when every member of the 
family has gone to bed, and there is no imaginable 
cause to be assigned for them, a succession of distinct 
and heavy blows are heard, as of some massive instru- 
ment upon a hollow wall or floor. These sounds are 
seldom heard more that once in the night; and gene- 
rally between the hours of twelve and two. They are 
sometimes so loud as to awaken one from sleep, and 
startle even those who are the most familiar with them ; 
at other times almost inaudible ; sometimes struck with 
great rapidity, at other times more slowly and leisurely; 


varying in duration also in about the same degree. 
But whether in his noisier or more gentle movements, 
the ghost is so peculiar in his sound, as not to be easUy 
mistaken bv those who have once heard him. No one 
has been able to determine from what part the sound 
proceeds; nor, indeed, to say with certainty that it is 
within the house at all. But in whatever part you 
may be listening, it seems to come from some remoter 
corner. Thus, if you hear it, being in the drawing- 
room, at one extremity of the house, the ghost appears 
to come from the library at the other end ; if you are 
in the library, it sounds as if proceeding from the 
drawing-room. At another time, it seems to come from 
underneath the stable-yard, or lawn, or in the cellar. 

" Considerable pains have been taken, at different 
times, to ascertain whence the sounds proceed, with a hope 
of finding some sufficient cause of them ; but entirely 
without success ; and, after about twenty years, we 
are as entirely in the dark as ever. The length of 
time it has been heard, the fact of everv domestic of 
the family having been often changed during the time, 
and the pains that have been taken to investigate the 
matter, while every member of the family, except the 
watcher, has been in bed, have put the possibility of any 
trick out of the question ; and have no less convinced 
the inmates that it cannot be accounted for, on any of 
the usual suppositions, v of horses in the stable kick- 
ing,' or ' dogs rapping with their tails,' or * rats jumping 
in the tanks and drains beneath the house.' Horses 
stamp, and dogs rap, and rats gallop ; but they do not 


make such sounds as that one startling and peculiar 
noise with which our ears are so familiar. 

" To convey a notion of the nature of the ghost, 
and of the force and violence with which it sometimes 
bursts out, I will describe the way it has repeatedly been 
heard, by different members of the family. On one 
occasion it burst forth with so much violence that the 
writer of this, accustomed as he was to hear and disre- 
gard it, sprang out of bed and ran to the landing at 
the head of the stairs, under a conviction that the outer 
door of the house had been burst in with violence. 
After a few moments the sounds ceased, and he retired 
to bed again ; it was the ghost. On another occasion, 
when he was going up to bed, the ghost began to 
thump violently, in the direction of the brew-house; and 
continued so long that he had time to go to the back 
door of the house and sally forth in quest. On his 
arrival, nothing was to be heard or seen. 

" On another occasion, the sound having for a con- 
siderable time appeared to come from a direction that 
suggested it to spring from some loose vessels in the 
brew-house, or from the cellar, which was close adjoin- 
ing ; the writer, with two of his brothers, sat up, one in 
the cellar, and the others in the brew-house. He in 
the cellar did not hear it. The two who had watched 
exactly where it had appeared to be for a good while 
before, heard it, loudly and distinctly as ever ; but it 
sounded underneath the lawn, fifty yards away from 
where they were. 

" About a month ago," says this correspondent of 


Major Moor, " the owner of the house, and a friend 
who happened to be staying on a visit, occupied adjoin- 
ing apartments. One morning, at the breakfast table, 
each demanded of the other an explanation of his 
movements on the previous night; each having been 
astonished at hearing, as he thought, his neighbour 
moving about and making a great noise among his 
books or the furniture of his apartment. ' I expected/ 
said one, ' to see you open my door and walk in.' * I 
thought you must have been ill, and had almost gone 
in to see,' said the other. Each had been quiet in bed ; 
and the sound was nothing but the ghost. 

" The usual sound is that described as a succession 
of deep thumps ; but other sounds, almost more curious 
and unaccountable, are often heard, of which I will 
relate a few particulars. 

"Some time ago a gentleman, a relation of the family, 
was on a visit to Ewshott House. One morning, at the 
breakfast table, he related the following curious and 
unaccountable circumstance : He had been awakened 
in the night by hearing, as he thought, a cart drawn 
along on the gravel road, immediately under his win- 
dows ; it appeared to be heavy-laden, and rattled as if 
with a load of iron rods. Wondering what could be 
about at that hour of the night, he got up and opened 
his window to investigate ; there was neither sight nor 
sound of anything to cause the noise. He got into bed 
again, and thought it possible he had been dreaming ; 
but half an hour after, as he lay awake, he heard the 
very same again the rattling of a loaded cart upon the 



drive beneath his windows. ' Now/ thought our Mend, 
'I'll find the cause.' So up he got again, opened his 
windows, and looked out ; but all was still. He went 
to bed again, and heard no more. He told the story in 
the morning, and inquired if anything had taken place 
to cause the sound he had heard; but nothing could 
be thought of to account for it, and he tells the story to 
this day. 

" To this it may be well to add two other anecdotes 
of our nocturnal friend. Four or five years ago, the 
writer of this ghost story was in the habit of sitting up 
at night to a very late hour, reading in the library; 
and though the family are all much too familiar with 
our ghost to be disturbed by any of his gambols, the 
sounds that used to strike his ears were often most 
remarkable and startling. On one occasion, in parti- 
cular, it seemed as if a flock of sheep from the adjoining 
paddock had rushed by the windows on the gravel 
drive. It was not a windy night ; and so convinced 
was he, after attentive listening, that it was the rapid 
rushing of a flock he heard, that he considered with 
himself the propriety of going out to drive them back 
again. But idleness prevailed : it was cold ; he was 
busy; so he voted it the ghost, and sat still at his 
books. But when he came down in the morning, fully 
expecting to find marks of sheep and damage done, to 
his surprise there was no sign at all of any such inva- 
sion. The lawn was smooth, and the gravel was un- 
trodden ; and it was indeed the ghost. 

"At another time it happened, that when the whole 


family were in one room, at prayers not one member 
of the family absent but a young child in the nursery 
a noise was heard, as of someone walking across the 
hall, next to the room in which they were assembled 
The lady who was reading prayers rose from her knees 
directly, and went into the hall with the servants at her 
heels, before it was possible a person could have got 
away ; but there was no one to be seen, nor anything to 
lead to the supposal of a visitor of any more substantial 
kind than our old friend the ghost. 

" It should be mentioned here that there is, running 
underneath the house, a very large old drain, which has 
been thought to be connected with the sounds above 
described. A few years ago this drain was thoroughly 
examined, with a view to ascertaining whether some 
loose brick or timber might be lying on it, which might 
create such sounds on being trod upon by rats, etc. A 
man was sent up through it, from one end to the other; 
but nothing of the kind appeared. The whole was 
thoroughly and carefully cleared out, but the noise 
proceeded as ever. How long the ghost had been 
observed before the present family resided is not known, 
but the popular belief attaches all the unblest circum- 
stances here related to the unquiet spirit of one Squire 

, a man of but indifferent repute, as it would seem, 

and one whose grave might not be found an easy 
resting-place. The old Squire has been dead three 
hundred years. He appears to have been the person 
who pulled down the old house and built up the present 
one in its stead." 



Thus far Major Moor gave the words of his principal 
informant; but being anxious to obtain further testi- 
mony, he applied to several visitors at Ewshott House, 
and published the letters of three of them, all testifying 
to their personal experience of the phenomena. He 
published, also, a letter from his own nephew, Captain 
A. H. Frazer, R.A., which is as follows : 

" Carlisle, 19th July 1841. 

" With regard to the Haunted House affair at Ewshott 
House, I will give as full and minute an account as I can. 
I wrote an account at the time, which has been unfor- 
tunately destroyed ; but as the facts are well impressed 
on my memory, the loss of it is of less consequence. 

" Soon after my intimacy with Lefroy began, he invited 
me to stay a few days at his mother's house in Hamp- 
shire. 'You must know,' he laughingly added, 'that 
ours is a haunted house, and has been so for many years. 
The inconvenience of this reputation has been very great, 
as, at times, we have had difficulty in getting servants 
to stay with us, especially maid-servants ; and we have 
by common consent dropped all allusion to the subject, 
and I now mention it to you that you may not, during 
your visit, transgress this rule.' 

" ' About twenty years ago ' (I think he said twenty), 
' when we first came to Ewshott House, there was an 
old house adjoining it, in which a bailiff, who had 
charge of the estate, lived with his family. Very 
strange noises used to be heard after eleven o'clock 
almost every night, which we attributed at first to the 
people in the other house, and did not, in consequence, 


pay so much attention to them as we afterwards did. 
But when the bailiff left this house (which we intended 
pulling down) we asked him why he had every night 
made such a noise ? To our great surprise, he informed 
us that he was not the occasion of it ; and we found, 
both from him and from other inquiries we set on foot, 
that the house had enjoyed the reputation of being 
haunted for many years. It appeared from some of 
the oldest inhabitants of the village in the parish, that 
Ewshott House had formerly been occupied by an 

eccentric and dubious character yclept Squire . 

This gentleman had, in his younger days, travelled much 
on the Continent, and had, amongst other countries, 
visited Italy, and brought home with him, on his return 
to England, an Italian valet also a character. The 
two lived in seclusion at Ewshott House; and in pro- 
cess of time many reports and suspicions got abroad 
respecting them and the doings at the Hall; though 

nothing definite could be brought against Squire , 

except his being a great miser. At last he died, or 
disappeared' (I forget which Lefroy said), 'and shortly 
afterwards noises began to be heard in the house ; and 
the common legend was, that he had been bricked up 
by his Italian servant, between the walls in some room 
or vault, and so left to perish ; and that the noise was 
occasioned by his rapping the walls with the butt end of 
his hunting-whip in trying to get out.' 

" Such was Lefroy's account. He added other par- 
ticulars, which, as you have probably had them from 
some of the family in a more authentic form than I 


could give, I omit. Now for ray own part in the mys- 
tery. As I had never before been in a haunted house 
my curiosity was greatly excited ; and I persuaded 
Lefroy to come up and sit up with me in my bed-room. 
He did so. The noise began much later than usual 
that evening at least, we did not hear it till about half 
past twelve p.m. or a quarter before one a.m. It was 
as if someone was striking the walls with a hammer, 
or mallet, muffled in flannel. It began at first slowly, 
with a distinct interval between the blows, then became 
more rapid ; but afterwards followed no rule, but was 
slow or rapid as caprice dictated. The noise did not 
appear to come always from the same part of the house. 
Sometimes it was heard faintly, as if at a distance ; at 
others it became startlingly near, but seemed always 
heloiv the room we were in. It was much louder than 
I expected. I think if I had been outside the house 
I should have heard it. I passed three other days at 
Ewshott House, and heard the same noise two nights 
out of the three. When all was still and asleep, there 
was something uncomfortable not to say fearful in 
hearing this hollow muffled noise, moving about the 
house, and coming at times so near that I expected to 
see the door open and some person come in, though 
no footsteps were ever heard. It usually began about 
eleven and half-past eleven p.m. But one evening I 
heard it a quarter before ten p.m., before any of the 
family had gone upstairs. The noise generally con- 
tinued, with intervals, for about two hours ; and I think 
there was a slight interval between every./^v? blows, but 


am not quite sure on this point. I never heard it 
during the day, though when every member of the 
family was out, and all was quiet, I would listen ; nor 
did I ever hear it, except in one instance above named, 
before ten p.m. 

" A slight interval between every five blows has been 
mentioned, but it is not mentioned that you should 
infer from this that there was any regularity in the 
striking of those five blows ; on the contrary, the time 
was very uncertain and irregular. It was when the 
blows followed each other most rapidly that the noise 
was loudest. It was only at first that there was any 
regularity in the interval between the blows. I tried 
in vain to form a probable conjecture as to the cause of 
the noise" after suggesting possible causes Capt. Frazer 
proceeds "but the want of regularity in the sound, and 
its locomotive powers, render it improbable that any of 
these should be the real cause. And besides which they 
would all be heard in the daytime, if listened for ; but 
the mysterious sound never has been, I believe. 

" Although always much interested in anything par- 
taking of the marvellous, I have no faith in superhuman 
agency in these matters. Still, it was impossible at night 
to hear this unaccountable sound without a slight feeling 
of depression, and I think it would have an (ill) effect 
upon a person of weak nerves or mind. 

" Such is all I can recollect of what I heard myself, 
but the stories were numerous. One night, about twelve, 
the lady of the house was sitting in the drawing-room 
reading, all the family had retired to rest, when the 


noise was heard close to a glass door (leading to another 
room) so loudly that she got up and went to the spot 
that it seemed to proceed from ; but nothing, of course, 
was seen. There was a strange story connected with 
the room I slept in ; it was told me by my friend 

" Many years ago he came home for the holidays 
from school, and slept the first night there. About the 
middle of the night, he was awaked by a very loud noise, 
as if a cart, heavily laden with iron bars, was passing 
slowly along the path under the windows, which were 
in the front of the house, and looked towards the park. 
He threw open the shutters and window ; it was a bright 
moonlight night ; but he could see nothing, though 
the noise continued for a short time after. When he 
mentioned all this next morning he was laughed at foi 
his pains. Some years after this, however (I think 
Lefroy said eleven), an uncle of his slept the first 
night of his arrival in this very room. When he came 
to breakfast next morning, in reply to hopes that he had 
slept well, &c, he said, c It is a curious thing, but I was 
awaked by a cart, laden as if with iron, rattling under 
my windows ; but it was so pitch dark I could not see 

" One more observation about the mysterious sounds : 
there are some noises which, though very loud, the ear, 
from a long habit of judging of and weighing them, 
knows to be at a great distance ; but this noise seemed 
to me (as a general rule) to become loud or faint, not 
so much from any change in the intensity of the blows 


as from a change of distance and position. And I am 
borne out in this remark by Lefroy, who mentioned 
that when several members of the family were stationed 
at different parts of the house, their accounts as to the 
loudness of the sound and its distance from them gene- 
rally differed. 

"I have now told you, in a somewhat lengthy style, 
all I can call to mind on the subject. I thought it 
better to put down facts as they occurred to me, and 
leave you, should you deem them suited to your pur- 
pose, to condense and arrange them as you pleased." 

Thus ends Captain Frazer's account of this mysterious 
affair. Ewshott House, we are given to understood, is 
still inhabited ; but whether still troubled by these un- 
accountable noises we are unable to learn. 


In the First Series of these stories and traditions some 
allusions were made to the mystery, or rather many 
mysteries, attached to Glamis Castle, the Forfarshire 
seat of the Earl of Strathmore. But the legends invest- 
ing this immense and ancient palace are inexhaustible. 
In point of antiquity and historical interest the Castle is 
one of the most remarkable edifices in the kingdom. 
u Although dilapidated and dimmed in its original 


splendour," writes Dr. Beattie, "its feudal air of strength 
and haughty defiance, and its sullen gloom of seclusion 
in an antique forest, is a subject peculiarly adapted 
for the pencil, and for exciting the imagination of the 

Glamis Castle, or rather some portions of the mag- 
nificent old edifice, is of immense antiquity ; indeed, it 
claims to be the most ancient inhabited castle in Scot- 
land ; but it has undergone, save in the central tower, 
manifold repairings and rebuildings. The first legend 
which lends historic importance to the place is that 
Duncan was there murdered by Macbeth, " Thane of 
Glamis," even the very room in which the deed was done 
having been pointed out formerly, whilst in the armoury 
of the Castle the sword and the shirt of mail worn by 
Macbeth are still shown. Local tradition points to the 
Hunter's Hill, an eminence overlooking the Castle, as 
the spot where Malcolm the Second was attacked by the 

The Glamis estates first came into possession of the 
Lyon family in 1371-2, when Sir John Lyon, feudal 
Baron of Fortevist, secretary and son-in-law to Robert 
the Second, received the grant of the lordship from that 
monarch. A long series of tragedies, we are informed, 
overgloomed the Lyons "from the moment they brought 
to Glamis their lion cup/' the original of Scott's Blessed 
Bear of Bradwardine, and a kind of family palladium, 
like the Luck of Edenhall. Sir John Lyon, who was 
Great Chamberlain of Scotland, fell in a duel in 1383. 
His son, the grandson of King Robert the Second, 


married his cousin, another grandchild of the same 
monarch, and, unlike many inheritors of the estate, died 
a natural death. His son was raised to the dignity of 
the peerage, in 1445, as Lord Glamis, and for some 
generations the Lyons lived and died in peace. The 
widow of the sixth Lord, Janet Douglas, a daughter of the 
Earl of Angus, together with her son Lord Glamis, and 
other relatives, was indicted for attempting the life of 
King James the Fifth by witchcraft. Lady Glamis was 
found guilty on evidence afterwards confessed to have 
been fabricated, and, horrible to relate, was burned to 
death on the Castle Hill, Edinburgh, in 1537. The son 
of this unfortunate lady, having been respited till of age, 
was, ultimately, released and restored to his honours 
and estates. In 1578 John, eighth Lord Glamis, was 
slain in an accidental encounter with the Lindsays, the 
hereditary enemies of his race. 

In the following century an earldom, first of King- 
home, and then of Strathmore and Kinghorne, was 
conferred upon the ruler of Glamis. The grandson of 
the first Earl was slain at Sheriffmuir, in 1715, and his 
brother and successor, Charles, died on the 11th of May, 
1728, "in consequence,''' say the peerages, "of an acci- 
dental wound received in a scuffle.'' According to the 
common story, however, his death was brought about 
in a duel over the gaming-table. One authority relates 
it thus, in All the Year Round, 

" The old feud between Lindsays and Lyons had 
so far healed over that the members of the two 
families dined, and drank, and diced together, like fine 


old Scottish gentlemen as they were. According to 
local tradition, the play one night at Glamis was very 
high, and when its owner had lost all his money, he 
staked his estates, one after the other, against the 
victorious player. At last Glamis itself was set on 
the turn of a card and lost. Then the head of the 
house, maddened by his losses, accused his guest of 
cheating. The reply was a blow, swords were drawn, 
and after a few passes the victorious guest ran Lord 
Strathmore through the body, and thus sacrificed all 
his winnings." The Earl was really slain by James 
Carnegy, of Finhaven. Thus far the tradition is clear 
and comprehensible enough ; but other legends put a 
very different complexion on it. There is a secret room 
in Glamis Castle, as everybody knows; a room no 
mortal eye may behold, and the locality of which is 
known only to the possessor of the Castle, his heir and 
his factor. This room is believed to have been the 
scene of a hideous gambling affair, and the hero of it 
was an Earl of Strathmore, said by William Howitt, in his 
account of Glamis, to have been " Earl Beardie," whose 
portrait is at Abbottsford. Whoever the nobleman was 
his name has been corrupted into that of " Earl Patie," 
by the Forfarshire peasantry, who, we are informed 
by Mr. Hugh Maclauchlan, tell the following story of 
his misdeeds. 

"Many, many years ago, when gentlemen got regu- 
larly drunk at dinner-time, and had to be carried to 
bed by their servants, there reigned supreme at Glamis 
one Patie, known to fame as the wild Earl of* Strath- 


more. Earl Patie was notoriously good at all the vices, 
but his favourite vice was that of gambling. He would 
play Lord's Day or week day, whatever day it was ; and 
if he could find no one else to humour him in his fancy, 
he would hob and nob with the humblest menial within 
the castle walls. 

" It happened once, on a dark and stormy November 
night, that Earl Patie had been wearied by his forced 
inactivity from horse and hound for it was the Lord's 
Day, and that means complete abstinence from all 
worldly pursuits in bonnie Scotland and, at last, with 
oaths and curses, he called for a pack of cards, and 
comforted himself with the anticipation of a pleasant 
game. The ladies were at their devotions, so he called 
the servants to him, one by one ; but never since the 
days of the feast in the New Testament were so many 
excuses invented to cover disinclination. Of all those 
who had humoured him so often, not one could be found, 
from the steward to the scullion, to take a hand with 
the wicked Earl. In desperation the chaplain was 
attacked ; but he, too, proved temptation proof, and 
strengthened the rebellion among the menials by brand- 
ing the pack of cards as * deevil's bricks,' and hurling 
terrible anathemas at the head of any wight who should 
venture on so terrible a desecration of the Sabbath. 
For a time there was dire confusion and alarm in the 
Castle ; and at last Earl Patie, swearing tremendously, 
and consigning everybody around him to an unmen- 
tionable locality, seized a pack of cards and went 
growling away up the old oak stairs to his chamber, 


saying he would play with the ' deil himsel,' sooner 
tli an be thwarted in his desire. 

" He had not sat long in the room before a knock 
came at the door, and a deep voice sounded from 
the corridor, asking the Earl if he wished a partner. 
' Yes,' roared the Earl ; ' enter, in the foul fiend's name, 
whoever you are/ And with that there entered a tall, 
dark stranger, wholly wrapped up in a cloak, who 
nodded in a familiar manner to the Earl, and took his 
seat on a vacant chair on the opposite side of the table. 
The Earl stared at his strange guest, and doubtless 
felt a momentary uneasiness as he remembered whom 
he had invited to play with him ; but a look at the 
cards on the table reassured him, and they commenced 
the game in real earnest. The stranger, who did not 
remove his bonnet and cloak, proposed a high stake ; 
and in reply the Earl said, if he were the loser, and had 
not wherewith to discharge his debt, he would sign a 
bond for whatever his guest might choose to ask. Fast 
and furious became the game, loud oaths resounded 
through the chamber, and the terrified menials crept up 
the corridor, wondering what brave man dared to bandy 
words with the wicked Earl, and who was sinful enough 
\o hold his hand at the ' deevil's bricks ' on the Lord's 
Day. As they fearfully listened they could hear the 
fierce utterances of the Earl, and the fiercer and more 
unearthly utterances of the stranger, whose presence 
they were quite unable to account for. 

" At last the old butler, who had served the family 
for two generations, ventured close to the chamber-door 


and peeped through the key-hole; but no sooner had 
he done so than he fell back and rolled on the floor with 
a yell of agony that resounded to the remotest part of 
the Castle. In an instant the door was rudely torn open 
and the Earl came out with fury in his face, and told 
them to slay anyone who passed, while he went back 
to settle with his guest. But his guest was nowhere to 
be found. They searched the chamber through and 
through, but in vain. He was gone, and he had taken 
with him Earl Patie's bond, but what for the confused 
and startled Earl did not exactly know. Keturning by 
the old butler, Earl Patie found him stunned and 
bruised, with a yellow circle round the erring eye ; and 
then he told the terror-stricken menials that, as he sat 
at play, the stranger suddenly threw down his cards and 
said, with an oath, 'Smite that eye!'' whereupon a 
sheet of flame darted directly to the key-hole, and the 
mysterious stranger disappeared. 

" Earl Patie lived five years before he paid his bond, 
but afterwards, on every Sabbath evening, the old 
chamber was filled with strange noises that echoed 
through the passages, as if the wicked Earl and the dark 
strranger were again wrangling and swearing over the 
' deevil's bricks/ For a time the unearthly noises were 
put up with, but at last the room was built up, and 
nothing now remains to tell where the chamber was 
where Earl Patie and his fiery guest played their stormy 
game of cards/' Such is the story, according to local 
tradition, of the secret room of Glamis Castle. 

William Howitt's version of this tradition is, that the 


famous " Earl Beardie," Earl of Crawford, of whom 
there is a portrait at Abbotsford, famous for his re- 
bellion against James IT. of Scotland, and popularly 
known as "the wicked laird," was playing at cards in 
the Castle, and, being warned to give oyer, as he was 
losing dreadfully, swore an oath that he would play till 
the Day of Judgment; whereupon the Devil suddenly 
made his appearance, and as sudden disappearance with 
old " Beardie and all his company. The room has 
never been found again, but the people believe firmly 
that old " Beardie" and his company are playing on, 
ind will play till the Day of Judgment ; and that on 
stormy nights the players are heard stamping and 
swearing in their rage over their play. 

But other, and deeper mysteries than that told of 
Earl Patie, or "Beardie," hover about that ancient and 
majestic castle. Those frowning towers, grey with age, 
and sombre with time, hold within their strong walls 
tales of almost unspeakable terror, and within their 
gloomy rooms, if rumour speak true, terrible tragedies 
have been enacted. Glamis, which a well-known tra- 
veller describes as one of the finest specimens of 
feudal architecture now existing, and as combining in 
a striking manner the gloom of prison security with the 
grandeur of a palace, is not so supremely interesting 
to outsiders for its magnitude or magnificence, its his- 
torical connexions or its melancholy associations, as 
for the seemingly impenetrable mystery that belongs to 
it. The local legend of Earl "Patie" or " Beardie M 
will not account for what has been seen and heard 


In 1880, a contributor to All the Year Round, whilst 
disclaiming all sympathy with ghost stories, or mys- 
teries of any kind, and declaring himself to be " an 
utter sceptic as to all assumed supernatural manifesta- 
tions," gave two strange incidents, as given to him on 
" good authority." The first narrative is told thus : 

" A lady, very well known in London society, an 
artistic and social celebrity, wealthy beyond all doubts 
of the future, and what is called a very cultivated and 
instructed, but clear-headed, and perhaps slightly matter- 
of-fact woman, went to stay at Glamis Castle for the 
first time. She was allotted very handsome apartments, 
just on the point of junction between the new buildings 
perhaps a hundred or two hundred years old and 
the very ancient part of the castle. The rooms were 
handsomely furnished ; no gaunt carvings grinned from 
the walls ; no grim tapestry swung to and fro, making 
strange figures look still stranger by the flickering fire- 
light ; all was smooth, cosy, and modern, and the 
guest retired to bed without a thought of the mysteries 
of Glamis. 

" In the morning she appeared at the breakfast-table 
quite cheerful and self-possessed. To the inquiry how 
she had slept, she replied: 'Well, thanks, very well, 
up to four o'clock in the morning. But your Scottish 
carpenters seem to come to work very early. I suppose 
they put up their scaffolding quickly, though, for they 
are quiet now." This speech produced a dead silence, 
and the speaker saw with astonishment thai, the faces of 
-members of the family were very pale- 



<e She was asked, as she valued the friendship of all 
there, never to speak to them on that subject again; 
there had been no carpenters at Glamis Castle for 
months past. This fact, whatever it may be worth, is 
absolutely established, so far as the testimony of a 
single witness can establish anything. The lady was 
awakened by a loud knocking and hammering, as if 
somebody were putting up a scaffold, and the noise did 
not alarm her in the least. On the contrary, she took 
it for an accident, due to the presumed matutinal 
habits of the people. She knew, of course, that there 
were stories about Glamis, but had not the remotest 
idea that the hammering she had heard was connected 
with any story. She had regarded it simply as an 
annoyance, and was glad to get to sleep after an un- 
restful time ; but had no notion of the noise being 
supernatural until informed of it at the breakfast- 

" To what particular event in the stormy annals of 
the Lyon family the hammering is connected is quite 
unknown, except to members of the family, but there is 
no lack of legends, possible and impossible, to account 
for any sights or sounds in the magnificent old feudal 

This same writer, after alluding to many of the 
tragic stories connected with Glamis, including the 
romantic episode of the renowned " Bowes " abduction 
case, proceeds to step into the dim borderland which 
separates tradition from fiction. " It is said," remarks 
this authority, " that once a visitor stayed at Glamis 


Castle for a few days, and, sitting up late one moon- 
light night, saw a face appear at the window opposite 
to him. The owner of the face it was very pale, with 
great sorrowful eyes appeared to wish to attract at- 
tention ; but vanished suddenly from the window, as if 
plucked suddenly away by superior strength. For a 
long while the horror-stricken guest gazed at the 
window, in the hope that the pale face and great sad 
eyes would appear again. Nothing was seen at the 
window, but presently horrible shrieks penetrated even 
the thick walls of the castle, aud rent the night air. 
An hour later, a dark huddled figure, like that of an 
old decrepit woman, carrying something in a bundle^ 
came into the waning moonlight, and presently van- 

This writer hints at a very dreadful deed to explain 
the cause of the apparition, but, for some reason or the 
other, evades connecting the two tales by any intelli- 
gible method. He adds, however, that there is a more 
modern story of a stonemason, having been engaged 
at Glamis Castle on an important occasion, and having 
discovered, or been suspected of discovering, more than 
he should have done, was supplied with a handsome 
competency, upon the conditions that he emigrated, and 
preserved inviolable secrecy as to what he had learned. 
This writer continues : 

" The employment of a stonemason is explained by 
the conditions under which the mystery is revealed to 
successive heirs and factors. The abode of the dread 
secret is in a part of the castle, also haunted by the 



apparition of a bearded man, who flits about at night, 
but without committing any other objectionable actiou. 
What connection, if any, the bearded spectre may have 
with the mystery is not even guessed. He hovers at 
night over the couches of children for an instant, and 
then vanishes. The secret itself abides in a room a 
secret chamber the very situation of which, beyond 
a general idea that it is in the most ancient part of the 
castle, is unknown. Where walls are fifteen feet thick it 
is not impossible to have a chamber so concealed, that 
none but the initiated can guess its position. It was 
once attempted by a madcap party of guests to discover 
the locality of the secret chamber, by hanging their 
towels out of window, and thus deciding in favour of 
any window from which no spotless banner waved ; but 
this escapade, which is said to have been ill-received by 
those most interested, ended in nothing but a vague 
conclusion that the old square tower must be the spot 

"It seems to have been forgotten by these harum- 
scarum mystery-hunters that a secret chamber might 
well be like the curious places of concealment called 
' priests' holes,' so common in old English country- 
houses, and the only mystery whereof is how the unfor- 
tunate hidden tenants could breathe in them. 

" It is in the secret chamber of Glamis Castle that 
the mystery is revealed to the next heir, and to the new 
factor, when one is appointed ; this much is known 
beyond all possible doubt. It is also assumed, from 
the stonemason story, and the mysterious sounds fre- 


quently heard, that the secret chamber is approached by 
a passage duly closed with masonry after every visit. 

" This latter conclusion mayor may not be correct, 
but the existence of a mystery of some kind concealed 
within a secret chamber is fairly well made out." 

No wonder that this writer asks, and many others 
repeat the question, " What is this mystery?" Of all 
the many attempted hypotheses not one may be deemed 
conclusive ; but few probable, or even possible. It has 
been suggested, contrary to the proven facts [if proof 
were needed], that the beautiful and unfortunate Lady 
Glamis, the supposed witch, the victim of acknowledged 
perjury, who perished amid the flames on Castle Hill, 
at Edinburgh, " was actually in commerce with the Evil 
One, and that her familiar demon, an embodied and 
visible fiend, endures unto this day, shut from the light, 
in Glamis Castle ! " 

Another wild suggestion is, that owing to some here- 
ditary curse, like those believed to rest on many well- 
known families, at certain intervals a kind of vampire 
is born into the family of the Strathmore Lyons. It is 
scarcely possible to destroy this monstrosity; it is, there- 
fore, kept concealed till its term of life is run. But, it 
might be remembered, even monsters need nourishment, 
and this secret chamber at Glamis is only visited once 
in a generation. Other theories and suggestions are 
equally unfortunate, and no probable solution of the 
mystery has yet been given. 

Thus far we have shown that strange sights and 
stranger sounds are reported upon good authority to 


have been seen and heard at Glamis. Moreover, it may 
be assumed that there is a family secret, concealed 
within the depths of the old castle, and that the facts 
about it are never known to more than three persons. 
The three persons who have to hide within their bosoms 
this grim secret are the Earl of Strathmore for the time 
being, the heir-apparent, if he have attained his majority, 
and the " factor," or, as he might be termed in England, 
the house steward. On the night before he attains his 
twenty-first birthday, the heir, who bears the courtesy 
title of Lord Glamis, is solemnly initiated in the terrible 
mystery by the reigning Earl and his factor, and this 
secret he has to preserve until the majority of his own 
son, or, if he remain sonless, till the coming of age of 
his heir presumptive, and till the appointment of another 
factor to the property. 

" Why the factor should be instructed in this terrible 
matter/' says one of our authorities, " is a question 
which has excited, and continues to excite, the Caledo- 
nian mind to a remarkable degree. If the office of 
factor were hereditary, there would be an apparent reason 
for taking such an important functionary into the family 
confidence. But this is not the case in Scotland as a 
rule. In fact, the balance of experience is very greatly 
on the other side. The factor is sometimes a poor 
relation of a great house, but frequently a retired officer 
or a country gentleman unconnected with his employers 
by ties of blood. There is nothing in the occupation 
of a factor greatly in excess of that of an agent, saving 
that he is resident on the property instead of living in 


the nearest large town. There is no reason why the 
connection between employer and factor should not be 
brought to an end at any time by individual or mutual 
dissatisfaction. There is, however, no record of any 
factor having disclosed any inkling of the Mystery of 
Glamis. As a Strathmore a Strathmore succeeds, there 
is generally much talk of the old story being exploded 
at last. Gay gallants in lace ruffles, beaus, bucks, 
bloods, and dandies have, until their twenty-first birth- 
day, made light of the family mystery, and some have 
gone so far as to make after-dinner promises to ' hoist 
the old ghost with his own petard,' and tell the whole 
stupid old story in the smoking-room at night, after the 
Doming of age humbug was all over. This promise has 
been made more than once. . . But it has never bee?i 
kept. No heir to the Strathmore peerage has revealed 
the secret. On the morrow, when all looked for an 
explanation of the terrible mystery, they were met by a 
courteous but cold refusal ; a simple statement that the 
fulfilment of the rash promise was impossible, a request 
to say no more about it, and thus the matter has ended," 
and so the Mystery of Glamis Castle remains a mystery 


At the conclusion of an entertaining paper entitled 
"A Winter's Night with my Old Books," the late 
Albert Smith gives a short account of an apparition 
which appeared at Guildford Grammar School ; and it is 


the more interesting from the fact that, having thrown 
discredit upon all the ghostly legends of the old writers, 
Lilly, Aubrey, Glanvil, and the rest, its writer adduces 
this as a story for which he can personally -vouch. It 
originally appeared in Bentleifs Miscellany, vol. xxv. 
p. 100, and was reprinted in " Dead Leaves," a post- 
humous publication of the well-known popular enter- 
tainer and author. It should be pointed out, however, 
that in this latter work, the initial of the youth who 
saw the spirit of the deceased huntsman is given as 

" Young M ," instead of as "Young K 9 " as 

given in the present narrative. 

I mentioned, remarks Albert Smith, that I had a 
ghost story, hitherto unpublished, to tell of Guildford. 
" About ten years ago my brother was a pupil at the 
Grammar School in that town. The boys had been 
sitting up all ni^ht in their bed-room for a frolic, and, 

in the early morning, one of them, young K , of 

Godalming, cried out, * Why, I '11 swear there 's the 
likeness of our old huntsman on his grey horse going 
across the white-washed wall ! ' The rest of the boys 
told him he was a fool, and that all had better think about 
going to sleep. After breakfast a servant came over 

from K 's family to say that ' their old huntsman 

had been thrown from his horse and killed, early that 
morning, whilst airing the hounds.' " 

Albert Smith adds : " Leaving the reader to explain 
this strange story, which may be relied upon, I put my 
old books back on their shelves, and lay aside my 




In the week's issue of All the \'ear Hound for 22nd 
June 1867, was published a paper entitled " Is it Pos- 
sible ? " This communication is supposed to have been 
made by Dr. Phillimore. Whoever the author was, he 
refers to his mother as a daughter of "Sir G(eorge) 
P(rescott), of Theobald's Park, Herts," and in a note 
subjoined to the story by Dickens is alluded to as " the 
esteemed writer." The story is in every way so curious, 
so startling, and so strongly vouched for, that it should 
be given in the narrator's own words, which are to this 
effect : 

" Several years ago the brother of Colonel C was 

killed in battle, leaving a widow and one little girl. The 
widow subsequently married a German baron, and the 
little girl, Maud, was brought up entirely in Germany. 
The latter was about twelve years old when her mother, 
being attacked with an illness that threatened to prove 
fatal, became very uneasy about the probable future of 
her child; and feeling, one evening, more depressed than 
usual, called the little Maud to her bed-side, warned 
her that their parting was near, and enjoined the weep- 
ing girl to write immediately to Mrs. B (a friend 

of many years' standing), entreating her to come at once 
to receive her last embrace, and take charge of her 
orphan child. 

"Maud obeyed without delay, but the dying woman's 
eyes were not gladdened by the appearance of her friend. 


The summons had reached its destination, but the 
absence of her husband, without whom she felt un- 
willing to travel so far, had induced Mrs. B to 

postpone her departure, consoling herself with the hope 
that her friend, being naturally of a nervous and de- 
sponding temperament, had somewhat magnified her 
own danger. 

" Mrs. B resided at Hampton Court, and here 

it was that, on the night of the 9th of November, a 
curious incident occurred. Retiring to her room be- 
tween eleven and twelve, she rang for her maid, and, 
the latter not appearing as promptly as usual, went to 
her still open door to listen if she were coming. Oppo- 
site to her was a wide staircase, and up this came, 

noiselessly, a figure which the lamp held by Mrs. B 

showed to be that of a lady dressed in black, with white 
gloves, A singular tremor seized her. She could 
neither stir nor speak. Slowly the figure approached 
her, reached the landing, made a step forward, and 
seemed to cast itself on her neck ; but no sensation 
accompanied the movement ! The light fell from her 
hand ; she uttered a shriek that alarmed the house, and 
fell senseless on the floor. 

" On recovering, Mrs. B related minutely what 

she had seen, her memory especially retaining the image 
of the white gloves ; but nothing more than the usual 
unsatisfactory solutions were propounded, nor does it 
appear that the occurrence was at all associated with the 
dying baroness in Germany. 

" In a few days, however, came a letter from little 


Maud, annouDcing that her mother was no more; that 

her latest thoughts were directed to Mrs. B , and 

her sole regret was the not being permitted to embrace 
her before her spirit passed away. She had died a little 
before midnight on the ninth of November. 

" Mrs. B hastened to Germany to claim her 

orphan charge, and then was added a noteworthy con- 
firmation of the vision. Little Maud, in one of their 
conversations, observed, ' Mamma had a curious fancy. 
On the night she died, she made the baron promise that 
she should be buried in her black satin dress with 
white kid gloves? The request had been complied 


There are three Halls at Heath, near Wakefield, but 
the one known as the Old Hall, at present occupied by 
Edward Green, Esquire, is that which bears the reputa- 
tion of being haunted. It is a truly magnificent and 
palatial pile of buildings, and has been well described 
to us as one of the finest specimens remaining in 
Yorkshire of the Elizabethan period of architecture. 
The Hall was built for John Kaye of Dalton. The 
windows were formerly emblazoned with the arms of 
many of the chief nobility of England, but these have 
disappeared, such painted glass as there is there now 
having been brought over by some nuns, with whom, it 


is said, -was a Princess of Conde, who resided at the Hall 
during the Kevolutionary troubles abroad. 

Mr. John Batty, to whom we are indebted for much 
of the following information, says, the Kayes were 
succeeded in possession of the Old Hall by William 
Witham, Esquire. This owner died in 1593, and it is 
not improbable that some peculiar circumstances which 
attended his disease and death first obtained for the 
place its curious reputation. His illness, and its fatal 
termination, were ascribed to demoniacal agency, and a 
poor woman of the neighbourhood, named Mary Pannal, 
who lay under the suspicion of being a witch, was 
arrested, and executed for the supposed crime at York. 

William Witham's son, Henry, dying without issue, 
Heath Old Hall became the property of his sister Mary, 
wife of Thomas Jobson of Cudworth, whose family had 
grown rich upon the plunder of abbey lands, another 
very potent reason for an uncanny fame being acquired 
by the race. Her first husband dying, Mary took for a 
second, Thomas Bolles, of Osberton, Nottinghamshire. 
Mary Bolles, whether for her loyalty or wealth is not 
stated, was created a baronetess of Scotland, with 
remainder to her heirs whatever, by James the First, in 
1635, if not a solitary, still a very rare instance of such 
a title having been conferred. Lady Bolles lived in 
great state at the Old Hall, and, after much wealth and 
prosperity, died there in 1662, when eighty-three. Her 
interment did not take place until six weeks after her 
decease, she having assigned .120 a very much larger 
sum then than now for keeping open house for all 


comers during that time. Her will, only signed the 
day before her death, besides containing a number of 
charitable bequests, legacies to relatives and friends, 
and 200 for the erection of her tomb, further provides 
for the funeral festivities as follows: " I give all my fat 
beeves and fat sheep to be disposed of at the discretion 
of my executors, whom I charge to perform it nobly, 
and really to bestow this, my gift in good provision ; 
two hogsheads of wine or more, as they shall see cause, 
and that several hogsheads of beer be taken care for 
(there being no convenience to brew). And, my bedding 
being plundered from me, I desire that the chambers 
may be well furnished with beds, borrowed for the time, 
for the entertaining of such as shall be thought fit 
lodgers." Besides these arrangements, Lady Bolles 
left 700 to be expended in mourning, and 400 for 
funeral expenses, and charged her executors most 
earnestly to see her will exactly performed, adding that 
if any person interested in it obstructed them in any 
degree, he or she should forfeit all claim to any benefit 
from it. 

The Old Hall fell to the share of Sir William Dalston, 
in right of his wife Anne, daughter of Lady Bolles by 
her second husband, but, after changing hands more 
than once, passed by purchase to John Smyth, Esquire, 
of Heath, from whom it descended to Captain Smyth, 
of the Grenadier Guards, its present possessor. 

The Hall and its environs, says Mr. John Batty, are 
beautifully described in " Emilia Monterio," a ballad by 
Mr. W. H. Leatham^ on a young Portuguese lady who 


lived with the nuns when they inhabited the Hall, some 
sixty years ago. 

But the grand feature about this magnificent old Hall 
is that it is haunted, and by the apparition of Lady 
Bolles. Her ladyship is said to walk and disturb the 
neighbourhood ; but her favourite resort is a fine 
banqueting-room, with a splendid carved stone chimney- 
piece, upon which are the Witham arms. Hunter, the 
Yorkshire antiquarian, deems that the lady's restless- 
ness in the grave may probably be connected with the 
romantic circumstances surrounding her father's death; 
whilst others think it clue to the non-observance by her 
executors of certain clauses in her will. According ta 
this latter account, the lady long " walked " in Heath 
Grove, till at length she was conjured down into a hole 
of the river, near the Hall, called to this day " Bolles 
Pit." " The spell, however, was not so powerful but 
that she still rises and makes a fuss now and then." A 
tradition, however, exists in Heath that a room in the 
edifice which she had had walled up for a certain period, 
because large sums of money had been gambled away in 
it, was opened before the stipulated time expired, hence 
the restlessness of Lady Bolles. 

At any rate, even now-a-days she is reported to be 
seen sometimes gliding along the passages of the house 
she once inhabited in the flesh, whilst servants in a 
neighbouring residence have refused to go out after 
dark, as they have repeatedly seen at dusk a tall woman 
dressed in antiquated style in the coach-road of Heath 
Old Hall. 


One correspondent, as evidence of the general feeling 
of the neighbourhood about this time-honoured appari- 
tion, informs us that when at Ledsham some time since, 
he was looking over the tomb in the north chancel, 
beneath which Lady Bolles lies buried, when two little 
lads whispered to him, rt Don't go there, maister, there's 
t'awd Lad ! " (Anglice, the Devil.) 


In the Life of the Rev. Richard Barham, author of 
The Ingoldsby Legends, by his son, the Rev. R. H. 
Dalton Barham, some extraordinary particulars are 
given respecting the haunting of Hinton Ampner Manor 
House, in Hampshire. Mr. Barham, who had recorded 
the story in his note-book for 1836, obtained the details 
from a Mrs. Hughes, who derived them originally from 
Mrs. Gwynn, a personal witness of the wonders referred 
to. The latter lady's account was subsequently con- 
firmed by several persons, including the late Duchess of 
Buckingham, a resident in the neighbourhood. 

" The story as told by Mrs. Hughes," says the Rev. 
Dalton Barham, " though substantially accurate as to 
incidents, contained some important errors in respect of 
the dramatis jtersonce. These were, I regret, repro- 
duced in the second edition of my father's Life. I have 
now, however, thanks to the kindness of certain mem- 


bers of the family mainly interested, the means of 
correcting them, and of presenting an authentic account 
of the Haunted House in Hampshire." Mr. Barham 
then proceeds to narrate the events connected with the 
presumed supernatural manifestations at Hinton Ampner, 
and his account we shall chiefly follow, correcting and 
amplifying it where necessary from the voluminous 
notes and affidavits cited in the Gentleman' } s Magazine 
for November and December 1872, to which periodical 
the whole affair was communicated under the title of 
" A Hampshire Ghost Story." 

Mrs. Ricketts, the lady chiefly concerned with the 
following narrative, was a woman of aristocratic con- 
nections ; her brother was the famous Admiral Jervis, 
afterwards Earl St. Vincent, and other members of her 
family held high positions in Church and State. Her 
husband, William Henry Ricketts, a Bencher of Gray's 
Inn, was a West Indian landowner ; and it was during 
a somewhat lengthy visit which he paid to his estates in 
Jamaica that Mrs. Ricketts resided, with her three 
infant children and servants, in the old Manor House 
of Hinton Ampner, near Alresford, in Hampshire. 

Previous to recounting particulars of the series of 
strange sights and sounds, the effect of which rendered 
Mrs. Ricketts' continued occupation of the old manor 
house an impossibility, it should be premised that that 
lady, according to all accounts, was a woman of remark- 
able vigour, both physical and mental. The coolness 
and courage with which Mrs. Ricketts endured for so 
lon& , neriod the disturbances at the old Hampshire 


residence certainly speaks strongly in favour of her 
good sense, and her physical capacity may not inaptly 
be gauged by the fact that she preserved her intellectual 
powers unimpaired to the advanced age of ninety-one. 
Her second son, Edward Jervis, who succeeded his 
elder brother as Viscount St. Vincent, it may be men- 
tioned, was ninety-two when he died. He is said to 
have " inherited the fine and powerful intellect of his 

The mansion of Hinton Ampner, where, in 1771, 
Mrs. Ricketts took up her residence, had for many 
generations been in possession of the Stewkeley family, 
and on the death of Sir Hugh Stewkeley, the last male 
heir, passed, by right of his wife, to Edward, Lord 
Stawell. On the evening of April 2nd, 1755, this 
nobleman, whilst sitting in the little parlour at Hinton, 
died suddenly of apoplexy, after having articulated a 
few words. For the next ten years the house, now 
become the property of the Right Hon. Henry Bilson 
Legge, husband of Lord Stawell's daughter, was left 
chiefly in the occupation of servants, Mr. Legge only 
visiting it for a month or so during the shooting 
season. At his death, in 1764, his widow let it to 
Mr. Ricketts. 

For some time prior to the arrival of the new tenants 
the house seems to have been gradually acquiring an 
evil reputation ; strange sounds were said to have been 
heard in it, and strange sights seen. In particular it 
was asserted that the figure of a gentleman in a drab- 
coioured coat, standing in the moonlight with his hands 



behind him, after the manner of the late Lord Stawell, 
was seen by a groom, and recognised by him as that of 
his deceased master. These reports, however, do not 
seem to have reached the ears of either Mr. or Mrs. 
Ricketts, although they had not been long settled at 
Hinton before their attention was aroused bv certain 
noises which they themselves heard in the night, as of 
persons opening and shutting doors with violence. Mr. 
Ricketts frequently went round the house in the hope 
of detecting the offenders ; but, failing in his efforts 
to discover the cause of these disturbances, and suppos- 
ing some ill-disposed persons possessed keys which 
gave them admission to the house, he had all the locks 
hanged ; but with no better result. The noises were 
repeated from time to time, yet, apparently, without 
causing any great annoyance to the family. Towards 
the close of 1769 Mr. Ricketts was called awav to 
Jamaica, and his wife, who was not only a woman of 
remarkable vigour, both physical and mental, but whose 
good sense had acquired additional strength under the 
training of the learned Nicholas Tindal, determined to 
remain at home with her three infant children. There 
were also in the house eight servants, all of whom, it 
is to be observed, left it from various causes in the 
course of the following year, and were replaced by 
others. Soon after the departure of Mr. Ricketts the 
disturbances became more serious. The servants got 
frightened. Mrs. Ricketts herself, among other inex- 
plicable sounds, frequently heard the rustling of silk 
clothes and the steps of someone walking in the adjoin- 


ing room or lobby. On one occasion sbe plainly 
distinguished the tread of a man walking heavily towards 
the foot of her bed. Here it will be as well to furnish 
some extracts from the account drawn up by Mrs. 
Kicketts herself of the extraordinary affair. 

" About six months after we came thither," is Mrs. 
Kickett's personal record, " Elizabeth Brelsford, nurse 
to our eldest son, Henry, then about eight months old, 
was sitting by him when asleep, in the room over the 
pantry, appropriated for the nursery, and, being a hot 
summer's evening, the door was open that faces the 
entrance into the yellow bed-chamber, which, with the 
adjoining dressing-room, was the apartment usually 
occupied by the lady of the house. She was sitting 
directly opposite to this door, and plainly saw, as she 
afterwards related, a gentleman in a drab-coloured suit 
of clothes go into the yellow room. She was in no way 
surprised at the time, but on the housemaid, Molly New- 
man, coming up with her supper, she asked what strange 
gentleman was come. Upon the other answering there 
was no one, she related what is already described, and 
desired her fellow-servant to accompany her to search 
the room ; this they did immediately, without any 
appearance of what she had seen. She was much con- 
cerned and disturbed, and she was thoroughly assured 
she could no ways be deceived, the light being sufficient 
to distinguish any object clearly. In some time after 
it was mentioned to me. I treated it as the effect of 
fear or superstition, to which the lower class of people 
are so prone ; and it was entirely obliterated from my 



mind till the late astonishing disturbances brought to 
my recollection this and other previous circumstances. 

" In the autumn of the same year George Turner, 
son of the gardener of that name, who was then groom, 
crossing the great hall to go to bed, saw at the other 
end a man in a drab-coloured coat, whom he concluded 
to be the butler, who wore such coloured clothes, he 
being lately come, and his livery not made. As he 
passed immediately upstairs to the room where all the 
men-servants lay, he was in great astonishment to find 
the butler and the other men-servants in bed. Thus 
the person he had seen in the hall remained unaccounted 
for, like the same person before described by the nurse ; 
and George Turner, now living, avers these particulars 
in the same manner he first related them. 

" In the month of July, 1767, about seven in the 
evening, there were sitting in the kitchen, Thomas 
Wheeler, postilion ; Ann Hall, my own woman ; Sarah, 
waiting-woman to Mrs. Mary Poyntz ; and Dame Lacy ; 
the other servants were out, excepting the cook, then 
employed in washing up her things in the scullery. 

"The persons in the kitchen heard a woman come 
down-stairs, and along the passage leading towards them, 
whose clothes rustled as of the stiffest silk ; and on 
their looking that way, the door standing open, a female 
figure rushed past, and out of the house door, as they 
conceived. Their view of her was imperfect ; but they 
plainly distinguished a tall figure in dark-coloured 
clothes. Dame Brown, the cook, instantly coming in, 
siiis figure passed close by her, and- instantly disap- 


peared. She described the person and drapery as before 
mentioned, and they all united in astonishment who or 
what this appearance could be ; and their surprise was 
heightened when a man, coming directly through the 
yard and into the house the way she went out, on being 
asked who the woman was he met, declared he had seen 
no one. 

" Some time after Mr. Ricketts left me," continues 
the lady, "I, then lying in the bed-room over the 
kitchen, heard frequently the noise of someone walking 
in the room within, and the rustling as of silk clothes 
against the door that opened into my room, sometimes 
so loud and of such continuance as to break my rest. 
Instant search being often made, we never could dis- 
cover any appearance of human or brute being. 

" Repeatedly disturbed in the same manner, I made 
it my constant practice to search the room and closets 
within, and to secure the only door that led from that 
room on the inside in such manner as to be certain no 
one could gain entrance without passing through my 
own apartment, which was always made fast by a draw- 
bolt on the door. Yet this precaution did not preclude 
the disturbance, which continued with little interruption." 

Mrs. Ricketts proceeds to furnish the names and 
various other particulars of the different domestics she 
had employed during her residence at the old Manor 
House, remarking : 

" I mention these changes among my domestics, 
though in themselves unimportant, to evince the im- 
possibility of a confederacy, for the course of nearly 


seven years, and with a succession of different persons, 
so that at the time of my leaving Hinton I had not one 
servant that lived with me at my first going thither, nor 
for some time afterwards. 

" In the summer of 1770, one night that I was lying 
in the yellow bed-chamber (the same I have mentioned 
that the person in drab-coloured clothes was seen to 
enter), I had been in bed half an hour, thoroughly 
awake, and without the least terror or apprehension on 
my spirits. I plainly heard the footsteps of a man, with 
plodding step, walking towards the foot of my bed. I 
thought the danger too near to ring my bell for assis- 
tance, but sprang out of bed, and in an instant was in 
the nursery opposite ; and with Hannah Streeter and a 
light I returned to search for what I had heard, but all 
in vain. There was a light burning in the dressing- 
room within, as usual, and there was no door or means 
of escape save at the one that opened to the nursery. 
This alarm perplexed me more than any preceding, being 
within my own room, the footsteps as distinct as ever I 
heard, myself perfectly awake and collected. 

" I had, nevertheless, resolution to go to bed alone in 
the same room, and did not form any conclusion as to 
the cause of this very extraordinary disturbance. For 
some months afterwards I did not hear any noise that 
particularly struck my attention, till, in November of 
the same year, I then being removed to the chintz bed- 
room over the hall, as a warmer apartment, I once or 
twice heard sounds of harmony, and one night in par- 
ticular I heard three distinct and violent knocks as given 


with a club, or something very ponderous, against a 
door below stairs ; it occurred to me that housebreakers 
must be forcing into some apartment, and I immediately 
rang my bell. No one hearing the summons, and the 
noise ceasing, I thought no further of it at that time. 
After this, and in the beginning of the year 1771, I 
was frequently sensible of a hollow murmuring that 
seemed to possess the whole house ; it was independent 
of wind, being equally heard on the calmest nights, and 
it was a sound I had never been accustomed to hear. 

" On the morning of the 27th February, when Eliza- 
beth Godin came into my room, I inquired what 
weather. She replying in a very faint tone, I asked if 
she were ill. She said she was well, but had never in 
her life been so terrified as during the preceding night; 
that she had heard the most dismal groans and flutter- 
ing round her bed most part of the night, that she had 
got up to search the room and up the chimney, and 
though it was a bright moonlight she could not dis- 
cover anything. I did not pay much attention to her 
account, but it occurred to me that should anvone tell 
her it was the room formerly occupied by Mrs. Parfait, 
the old house-keeper, she would be afraid to lie there 
again. Mrs. Parfait dying a few days before at Kilm- 
ston, was brought and interred in Hinton churchyard 
the evening of the night this disturbance happened. 

" That very day five weeks, being the 2nd of April, 
I waked between 1 and 2 o'clock, as I found by my 
watch, which, with a rushlight, was on a table close to 
my bedside. I lay thoroughly awake for aagae time, 


and then heard one or more persons walking to and 
fro in the lobby adjoining. I got out of bed and listened 
at the door for the space of twenty minutes, in which 
time I distinctly heard the walking, with the addition 
of a loud noise like pushing strongly against a door. 
Being thus assured my senses were not deceived I deter- 
mined to ring my bell, to which I had before much 
reluctance on account of disturbing the nursery maid, 
who was very ill of a fever. 

"Elizabeth Godin, during her illness, lay in the 
room with my sons, and came immediately on hearing 
my bell. Thoroughly convinced there were persons in 
the lobby, before I opened my door, I asked her if 
she saw no one there. On her replying in the nega- 
tive, I went out to her, examined the window, which 
was shut, looked under the couch, the only furniture 
of concealment there ; the chimney board was fastened, 
and, when removed, all was clear behind it. She found 
the door into the lobby shut, as it was every night. 
After this examination I stood in the middle of the 
room, pondering with much astonishment, when sud- 
denly the door that opened into the little recess leading 
to the yellow apartment sounded as if played to and 
fro by a person standing behind it. This was more 
than I could bear unmoved. I ran into the nursery and 
rang the bell there that goes into the men's apartments. 
Robert Camis came to the door at the landing place, 
which door was every night secured, so that no person 
could get to that floor unless through the windows. 
Upon opening the door to Robert I told him the reason 


I had to suppose that someone was entrenched behind 
the door 1 before mentioned, and, giving him a light 
and arming him with a billet of wood, myself and Eliza- 
beth Godin waited the event. Upon opening the door 
there was not any being whatever, and the yellow 
apartment was locked, the key hanging up, and a great 
bolt drawn across the outside door, as usual when not in 
use. There was then no further retreat or hiding place. 
After dismissing Robert and securing the door, I went 
to bed in my sons' room, and about half an hour after- 
wards heard three distinct knocks, as described before ; 
they seemed below, but I could not then or ever after 
ascertain the place. The next night I lay in my own 
room ; I now and then heard noises and frequently the 
hollow murmur, 

" On the 7th of May, exactly the day five weeks from 
the 2nd of April, this murmur was uncommonly loud. 
I could not sleep, apprehending it the prelude to 
some greater noise. I got up and went to the nursery, 
stayed there till half an hour past three, and then, 
being daybreak, I thought I should get some sleep in 
my own apartment ; I returned and lay till ten minutes 
before four, and then the great hall door directly under 
me was slapped to with the utmost violence, so as to 
shake my room perceivably. I jumped out of bed to 
the window that commands the porch. There was a 
light to distinguish every object, but none to be seen 
that could account for what I had heard. Upon 
examining the door it was found fast locked and bolted 
as usual. 


" From this time I determined to have my woman 
lie in a little bed in my room. The noises grew 
more frequent, and she was always sensible of the 
same sounds, and much in the same direction as they 
struck me. Harassed and perplexed, I was yet very 
unwilling to divulge my embarrassment. I had taken 
every method to investigate the cause, and could not 
discover the least appearance of trick ; on the contrary, 
I became convinced it was beyond the power of any 
mortal agent to perform ; but, knowing how exploded 
such opinions were, I kept them in my own bosom, and 
hoped my resolution would enable me to support what- 
ever misrht befall. 

" After Midsummer the noises became every night 
more intolerable. They began before I went to bed, 
and with intermissions were heard till after broad day 
in the morning. I could frequently distinguish inar- 
ticulate sounds, and usuallv a shrill female voice would 
begin, and then two others with deeper and manlike 
tone seemed to join in the discourse; yet, though this 
conversation sounded as if close to me, I never could 
distinguish words. / 

" I have often asked Elizabeth Godin if she heard 
any noise, and of what sort. She as often described the 
seeming conversation in the manner I have related, and 
other noises. One night in particular my bed-curtains 
rustled, and sounded as if dragged by a person walking 
against them. I then asked her if she heard any noise 
and of what kind. She spoke of it exactly in the 
manner I have done. Several times I heard .sounds of 


harmony within the room no distinct or regular notes, 
but a vibration of harmonious tones; walking, talking, 
knocking, opening and slapping of doors were repeated 
every night. My brother,* who had not long before 
returned from the Mediterranean, had been to stay with 
me, yet so great was my reluctance to relate anything 
beyond the bounds of probability that I could not bring 
myself to disclose my embarrassed situation to the 
friend and brother who could most essentially serve and 
comfort me. The noises continuing in the same manner 
when he was with me, I wished to learn if he heard 
them, and one morning I carelessly said : ' I was afraid 
last night the servants would disturb you, and rang my 
bell to order them to bed.' He replied he had not 
heard them. The morning after he left me to return to 
Portsmouth, about 3 o'clock and daylight, Elizabeth 
Godin and myself both awake she had been sitting up 
in bed looking round her, expecting, as she always did, 
to see something terrible I heard with infinite astonish- 
ment the most loud, deep, tremendous noise, which 
seemed to rush and fall with infinite velocity and force 
on the lobby floor adjoining to my room. I started up, 
and called to Godin, ' Good God ! did vou hear that 
noise ? ' She made no reply ; on repeating the ques- 
tion, she answered with a faltering voice, ' She was so 
frightened she scarce durst speak.' Just at that instant 
we heard a shrill and dreadful shriek, seeming to pro- 
ceed from under the spot where the rushing noise fell, 
and repeated three or four times, growing fainter as it 

* Captain John Jervis, afterwards Earl St, Vincent. 


seemed to descend, till it sank into earth. Hannah 
Streeter, who lay in the room with my children, heard 
the same noises, and was so appalled she lay for two 
hours almost deprived of sense and motion. 

" Having heard little of the noises preceding, and 
that little she did not regard, she had rashly expressed 
a wish to hear more of them, and from that night till 
she quitted the house there was scarce a night passed 
that she did not hear the sound as if some person 
walked towards her door, and pushed against it, as 
though attempting to force it open. This alarm, so 
more than commonly horrible, determined me to impart 
the whole series to my brother on his return to Hinton, 
expected in a week. The frequency of the noises, 
harassing to my rest, and getting up often at unreason- 
able hours, fixed a slow fever and deep cough, my 
health was much impaired, but my resolution firm. I 
remained in anxious expectation of my brother, and he 
being detained a week longer at Portsmouth than he 
had foreseen, it occurred to me to endeavour, by 
changing my apartment, to obtain a little rest. I 
removed to that formerly occupied by Elizabeth Godin. 
I did not mention my intention till 10 at night, when 
the room was prepared, and I went to bed soon after. 
1 had scarce lain down when the same noises surrounded 
me that I before have related, and I mention the cir- 
cumstance of changing my room without previous notice 
to prove the impossibility of a plan of operations being 
so suddenly conveyed to another part of the house, were 
they such as human agents could achieve. The week 


following I was comforted by the arrival of my brother. 
However desirous to impart the narrative, yet I forbore 
till the next morning; I wished him to enjoy a night's 
rest, and therefore contented myself with preparing him 
to hear on the morrow the most astonishing tale that 
ever assailed his ears, and that he must summon all his 
trust of my veracity to meet my relation. He replied 
it was scarce possible for me to relate any matter he 
could not believe, little divining the nature of what I 
had to offer to his faith. 

" The next morning I began my narrative, to which 
he attended with mixed surprise and wonder. Just as I 
had finished, Captain Luttrell, our neighbour at Kilm- 
ston, chancing to call, induced my brother to impart 
the whole to him, who in a very friendly manner offered 
to unite his endeavours to investigate the cause. It 
was then agreed he should come late in the evening, 
and divide the night watch between them, keeping 
profoundly secret there was any such intention. My 
brother took the precaution, accompanied by his own 
servant, John Bolton, to go into every apartment, par- 
ticularly those on the first and attic story, examined 
every place of concealment, and saw each door fastened, 
save those to chambers occupied by the family. This 
done, he went to bed in the room over the servants' 

" Captain Luttrell and my brother's man, with arms, 
Bat up in the chintz room adjoining, and my brother 
was to be called on any alarm. 

"I lay that night in Elizabeth Godin's room, atid 


the children in the nurseries ; thus every chamber on 
that floor was occupied. I bolted and locked the door 
that opened to that floor from the back stairs, so that 
there was no entrance unless through the room where 
Captain Luttrell kept watch. 

" So soon as I lay down, I heard a rustling as of a 
person close to the door. I ordered Elizabeth Godin to 
sit up a while, and, if the noise continued, to go and 
acquaint Mr. Luttrell. 

" She heard it, and instantly Mr. Luttrell's room door 
was thrown open, and we heard him speak. 

"I must now give his account, as related to my 
brother and myself the next morning. 

"He said he heard the footsteps of a person walking 
across the lobby, that he instantly threw the door open, 
and called, ' Who goes there ? ' That something flitted 
past him, when my brother directly called out, ' Look 
against my door.' He was awake, and heard what 
Mr. Luttrell had said, and also the continuance of the 
same noise till it reached his door. He arose and 
joined Mr. Luttrell. Both astonished, they heard 
various other noises, examined everywhere, found the 
staircase door fast secured as I had left it. I lay so 
near, and had never closed my eyes ; no one could go 
to that door unheard. My brother and his man pro- 
ceeded up-stairs, and found the servants in their own 
rooms, and all doors closed as they had seen just 
before. They sat up together, my brother and Mr. 
Luttrell, till break of day, when my brother returned to 
his own chamber. About that time, as I imagined., I 


heard the chintz room door opened and slammed to 
with the utmost violence, and immediately that of the 
hall chamber opened and shut in the same manner. I 
mentioned to Godin my surprise that my brother, who 
was ever attentive not to alarm or disturb the children, 
should hazard both by such vehement noise. An hour 
after I heard the house door open and slam in the same 
way, so as to shake the house. No one person was 
then up, for, as I had never slept, I heard the servants 
rise and go down about half an hour afterwards. When 
we were assembled at breakfast, I observed the noise my 
brother had made with the doors. 

" Mr. Luttrell replied, ' I assure you Jervis made not 
the least noise ; it was your door and the next I heard 
opened and slapped in the way you describe.' 

"My brother did not hear either. He afterwards 
acknowledged to me that when gone to bed, and Mr. 
Luttrell and I were sitting below, he heard dreadful 
groans and various noises that he was then and after 
unable to account for. His servant was at that time 
with mine below. 

" Captain Luttrell declared the disturbances of the 
preceding night were of such a nature that the house 
was an unfit residence for any human being. My 
brother, though more guarded in his expressions, con- 
curred in that opinion, and the result of our delibera- 
tions was to send an express to Mr. Sainsbury, Lady 
Hillsborough's steward, to request he would come over 
immediately on a very particular occasion, with which 
he would be made acquainted on his arrival. 


" Unluckily, Mr. Sainsbury was confined with tho 
gout, and sent over his clerk, a youth of fifteen, to 
whom we judged it useless and improper to divulge the 

"My brother sat up every night of the week he then 
passed at Hinton. In the middle of one of these nights 
I was surprised with the sound of a gun or pistol let off 
near me, immediately followed by groans, as of a person 
in agonies, or expiring, that seemed to proceed between 
my chamber and the next, the nursery. I sent Godin 
to Nurse Horner, to ask if she had heard any noise ; she 
had not. Upon my inquiry the next morning of my 
brother, he had (not?) heard it, though the report and 
groans were loud and deep. 

" Several instances occurred where very loud noises 
were heard by one or two persons, when those equally 
near and in the same direction were not sensible of 
the least impression. 

" As the watching every night made it necessary for 
my brother to gain rest in the day, he usually lay down 
after dinner. During one of these times he was gone 
to rest, I had sent the children and their attendants 
out to walk, the dairymaid gone to milk, the cook in 
the scullery, my own woman with my brother's man 
sitting together in the servant's hall ; I, reading in the 
parlour, heard my brothers bell ring with great quick- 
ness. I ran to his room, and he asked me if I had 
heard any noise; "because," said he, " as I was lying 
wide awake an immense weight seemed to fall through 
the ceiling to the floor just by that mahogany pre e an I 


it is impossible I should be deceived.' His man was 
by this time come up, and said he was sitting under- 
neath the room, as I before mentioned, and heard not 
the least noise. The inquiry and attention my brother 
devoted to investigate this affair was such as from the 
reach of his capacity and ardent spirit might be expected; 
the result was his earnest request that I would quit the 
place, and, when obliged to return to Portsmouth, that 
I would permit him to send Mr. Nichols, his Lieutenant 
of Marines, and an old friend of the family, to continue 
till my removal with me. ^ 

" One circumstance is of a nature so singularly 
striking that I cannot omit to relate it. In one of our 
evening's conversations on this wonderful train of dis- 
turbances I mentioned a very extraordinary effect I had 
frequently observed in a favourite cat that was usually 
in the parlour with me, and when sitting on table or 
chair with accustomed unconcern she would suddenly 
slink down as if struck with the greatest terror, conceal 
herself under my chair, and put her head close to my 
feet. In a short space of time she would come forth 
quite unconcerned. I had not long given him this 
account before it was verified to him in a striking man- 
ner. We neither, then, nor I at other times, perceived 
the least noise that could give alarm to the animal, nor 
did I ever perceive the like effect before these disturb- 
ances, nor afterwards, when she was removed with me 
to another habitation. The servants gave the same 
account of a spaniel that lived in the house, but to that, 
as I did not witness, I cannot testify." 

I 32 


Various causes, as Mr. Barham records, were assigned 
in the neighbourhood for these supernatural visitations. 
The most popular reason was that which connected the 
late Lord Stawell, " a notorious evil liver," with the 
manifestations. He had had in his employment as a 
bailiff a certain Isaac Mackrel, a man with a remarkably 
hoarse, guttural voice, and one who was declared to have 
been well, or rather ill known as a pander to his master's 
vices. Although Mackrel had been detected in robbing 
his master, he was retained in his service, having evi- 
dently some private hold upon him. 

There had resided in the Manor House with Lord 
Stawell a younger sister of his deceased wife, and, it 
was rumoured, a guilty intrigue had been carried on 
between these two. Although no child was known posi- 
tively to have been born, strong suspicions had been 
entertained on that score by the village gossips. The 
lady died at Hinton in 1754. In the year following 
Lord Stawell, as has been said, expired in a fit of apo- 
plexy, and sometime after the steward was killed by the 
fall of a fagot-stack. 

Mrs. Eicketts and her friends endeavoured to trace 
out the origin of these rumours, but without much suc- 
cess. One day, indeed, an old man living in the poor- 
house at West Meon came to her, and said that his wife 
had often related to him that, in her younger days, a 
carpenter had told her that he was once sent for by Sir 
Hugh Stewkeley, and directed by him to take up some 
boards in the lobby, and that Sir Hugh had concealed 
something, which he (the carpenter) conceived was 


treasure. Some investigation appears to have been 
made in consequence of this communication, but nothing 
came of it. 

Sixtv pounds reward was offered bv Ladv Stawell for 
discovery of the cause of the disturbances, and this offer 
Mr. Ricketts, on his return to England, increased to 
one hundred, but no claim was ever made for the 

Meanwhile, Mrs. Kicketts removed to YVolvesey, the 
palace of the Bishop of Winchester, with whom she was 
connected by marriage. After her removal the people 
left in charge complained of some annoyances, but the 
manifestations do not appear to have been so frequent 
nor so terrifying. 

Eventually the Manor House was let to a Mr. Law- 
rence, who forbade the servants saying a word about the 
disturbances, under penalty of losing their places. Not- 
withstanding this judicious rule, rumours were still pro- 
pagated, and it was stated that once, when the housemaid 
was standing in the lobby, a female figure rushed past 
and disappeared. Mr. Lawrence brought his family 
with him to Hinton, but, doubtless, the manifestations 
were too much for them ; he only stayed in the house 
for a year, and then left it suddenly. 

After this, the Manor House was never occupied. In 
1797 it was pulled down, and under the floor of the lobby 
there was found a box containing bones and what was 
said to be the skull of a monkey. No regular inquiry 
was made into the matter, and no professional opinion 
was ever sought as to the real character of the relic. 



The only person thought able to throw any light 
upon the mystery was an old woman who had been 
housekeeper in Lord Stawell's time : on her death-bed 
she expressed a desire to make a confession to a member 
of the Jervis family, but unfortunately she expired before 
the lady summoned could arrive. 

It is declared that the subject was always a very sore 
one with the first Lord St. Vincent, and that any allu- 
sion to it commonly brought down a rebuke upon anyone 
who ventured to make it. 


Ince Hall, famous as being connected with one of the 
most curious beliefs in existence, is an ancient Lanca- 
shire dwelling. In Koby and Wilkinson's popular 
Lancashire Lege?ids this old Hall is described as " one 
of those curious half-timbered mansions which are now 
becoming rare in this country. Its six sharply-pointed 
gables, and its long ranges of mullioned pointed win- 
dows, give it an imposing appearance from a distance ; 
and on a nearer approach the remains of a moat are 
visible, which proves that it had once possessed means 
of defence. The estate connected with the Hall be- 
longed to the Gerards for upwards of seven hundred 
years; the owners being descended from Walter 
Fitzothe, Castellan of Windsor., at the time when 

p>. -< 



Domesday Book was compiled * His son William 
adopted the surname of de Windsor, but another son, 
Gerard, was contented to bear his ordinary patronymic, 
and became the ancestor of the Gerards of Bryn, now 
represented by Sir Robert Gerard, of Garswood Hall. 

About the year 1368, John, the third son of Sir Peter 
Gerard, of Bryn, married Ellen, daughter and sole 
heiress of Richard de Ince, the representative of a very 
ancient family, dating very nearly, if not quite, from the 
Conquest. In consequence of this marriage, the town- 
ship of Ince passed to the Gerards, who, for many suc- 
ceeding generations, resided at the old Hall. 

The tradition connected with the building now known 
as Ince Hall, which mansion was not erected till the 
reign of James the First, is thus related in the Lanca- 
shire Legends : " There is a story of wrong attaching to 
Ince Hall, which has given rise to the legend of * the 
Dead Hand.' One of its early possessors lay on his 
death-bed, and a lawyer was sent for at the last moment 
to make his will ; but before he reached him the man 
was dead. In this dilemma it was determined to try 
the effect of a dead man's hand on the corpse, and the 
attorney's clerk was sent for one to Bryn Hall in all 
haste. The body of the dead man was rubbed with the 
holy hand, and it was asserted that he revived suffi- 
ciently to sign his will. After the funeral a daughter 
of the deceased produced a will which was not signed, 
leaving the property to his son and daughter ; but the 
lawyer soon produced another will, signed by the dead 
hand, which conveyed all the property to himself. The 


son quarrelled with the attorney, and after wounding 
him, as he supposed mortally, he left the country, and 
was never heard of more. The daughter also dis- 
appeared, but no one knew how or when. After many 
years the gardener turned up a skull in the garden with 
his spade, and the secret was revealed. When this took 
place the Hall had long been uninhabited ; for the mur- 
dered daughter's ghost hung suspended in the air before 
the dishonest lawyer wherever he went. It is said that 
he spent the remainder of his days in Wigan, the victim 
of remorse and despair. There is a room in the Hall 
which is said to be haunted by the ghost of a young 
lady, and her shadowy form is frequently seen by the 
passers-by hovering over the spot where her remains 
were buried." 

The Dead Hand. 

The " Dead Hand," or the " Holy Hand," as it is 
sometimes styled, alluded to in the foregoing tradition, 
is the centre around which quite a galaxy of marvellous 
tales have gathered. It is known to have belonged to 
Father Edmund Arrowsmith, a Jesuit, who suffered the 
extreme penalty of the law at Lancaster, on the 28th 
August 1628. 

The cause of Father Arrowsmith's trial and execution 
has been variously stated, certain sceptical persons 
alleging that he had been found guilty of some foul 
crime, and that the tale of his martvrdom for the sake 
of his faith, and the miracles which attest his sanctity, 
have been invented for the purpose of preventing scandal 


in the Church. The onus probandi lies, of course, 
with them, and until these unbelievers in miraculous 
intervention can adduce any evidence on behalf of their 
allegations, there does not appear to be any reason for 
refusing to accept the testimony of the Catholics, which 
is to the following effect. 

Arrowsmith was born at Haydock, in the parish of 
Winwick, Lancashire, in 1585. In 1605 he entered the 
Jesuit College at Douay, and in 1612 was ordained 
priest. The next year he was sent on a mission to 
England ; and in 1623 was apprehended and taken to 
Lancaster on a charge of being a Eomish priest, con- 
trary to the laws " in that case made and provided." 
He was tried for this offence, found guilty, sentenced to 
death, and executed. After his body was cut down one 
of his friends or, as other accounts say, his spiritual 
attendant, cut off his right hand, in compliance with his 
dying injunctions, and to fulfil his dying promise that 
he should work miraculous cures on those who had faith 
in its efficacy. 

For many years the hand was kept at Bryn Hall, and 
when that ancient edifice was demolished it was removed 
to Garswood Hall, Sir Kobert Gerard's residence. 
Ultimately it was placed in the Catholic Chapel at 
Ashton-in-Maskerfield, where it now is in custody of 
the priest. This holy relic, by which so many marvel- 
lous cures have been wrought, is most carefully preserved 
in a white silk bag. We have before us an account of a 
case which occurred in August 1872 : a woman named 
Catherine Collins, was sent to the Wigan Workhouse a 


wholly destitute. She had been sitting all day on a 
door-step, after having come out of the workhouse at 
Salford on leave, and walked all the way from that town 
to Mackerfield, in order to have the " Holy Hand " 
applied to her side, which was paralyzed. When her 
case came before the Wigan Board of Guardians, Mr. 
Clarke, one of the guardians for Ashton, informed the 
Board that hundreds of persons visited the township on 
a similar errand to that of this paralytic woman. 


Even the ruins of this ancient border-fortress have 
disappeared, and its site is, or was recently, occupied by 
a large prison. But time was in Scottish history that 
Jedburgh boasted of an important and even magnificent 
castle, that was the favourite residence of royalty. 
William the Lion and Alexander the Second often 
graced it with their regal presence, but it was left to 
Alexander the Third to still further enhance its glory 
and carry its splendour to its highest pitch. The 
childless monarch, having determined upon marrying 
again, ordered the wedding festival to be kept at Jed- 
burgh, and there, in October 1285, he was united in 
marriage to Jolande, or, as some style her, Joleta, 
daughter of the Count of Dreux. 

Notwithstanding the high character borne by King 


Alexander, and the universal festivity and jollification, 
melancholy forebodings were not wanting on the occa- 
sion of this wedding. The hilarity, indeed, of the royal 
host and his guests was destroyed, or at all events 
overshadowed, by a circumstance by many deemed 
supernatural, and of which no explanation has ever yet 
been afforded. The occurrence appears to have given 
Edgar Poe a hint which he expanded into the tale, if 
such it may be termed, of The Masque of the Red 
Death. Whilst the wedding revelry was at its height, a 
figure was suddenly observed by the startled guests, 
gliding through their midst. In the poet's imaginative 
words, the figure is described as "tall and gaunt, and 
shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the 
grave. The mask which concealed the visage was made 
so nearly to resemble the countenance of a stiffened 
corpse that the closest scrutiny must have had difficulty 
in detecting the cheat." 

" * Who dares ? ' " he makes the royal host demand, 
' insult us with this blasphemous mockery ? Seize him 
and unmask him, that we may know whom we have to 
hang at sunrise from the battlements ! ' . . . 

" At first, as he spoke, there was a slight rushing 
movement of the group of pale courtiers in the direction 
of the intruder . . . but, from a certain nameless awe 
with which the mad assumption of the mummer had 
inspired the whole party, there was found none who put 
forth hand to seize him, so that . . . while the vast 
assembly, as if with one impulse, shrank from the centre 
of the room to the walls, he made his way uninter- 


ruptedly, but with the same solemn and measured step 
which had distinguished him from the first." Ultimately, 
the revellers take courage, and, " seizing the mummer, 
whose tall figure stood erect and motionless," they 
" gasped in unutterable horror at finding the grave 
cerements and corpse-like mask which they handled 
with so violent a rudeness, untenanted by any tangible 
form ! " 

Less terrifying, yet not the less suggestive, are the 
lines of Heywood, Hierarchie of the Blessed Angels, 
when recounting the ill-omened tale : 

In the mid revels, the first ominous night 

Of their espousals, when the moon shone bright 

With lighted tapers the King and Queen leading 

The curious measures, lords and ladies treading 

The self-same strains the King looks hack by chance, 

And spies a strange intruder fill the dance ; 

Namely, a mere anatomy, quite bare ; 

His naked limbs both without flesh and hair, 

(As we decipher Death), who stalks about, 

Keeping true measure till the dance be out. 

Nothing further is known of this spectral appearance, 
which had glided so suddenly into the midst of the 
startled revellers, and had as suddenly and as mys- 
teriously vanished. But everyone felt that it was the 
portent of some great approaching calamity. Thomas 
the Eymer, the famous seer and prophet, informed the 
Earl of March, in the presence of several persons, that 
the 16th of March should be " the stormiest day that 
ever was witnessed in Scotland." The day came clear 
and mild, and the scoffers laughed the prophecy to 


scorn, when suddenly came the news that the King was 
dead. "That is the storm which I meant," said 
Thomas, " and there was never tempest which will 
hring more ill luck to Scotland." The seer was right. 

Alexander the Third, riding in the dusk, between 
Burntisland and Kinghorn, was thrown from his horse 
over a precipice, and killed, in his forty-fifth year, a few 
months after his marriage. When the sad news spread, 
causing distraction among the people, and civil war 
between the claimants to the vacant throne, manv 
thought of the dire omen which had appeared at the 
King's wedding, and deemed that it had been sent to 
betoken his speedy and premature death. 


In a work by Mr. H. Spicer, entitled Strange Things 
Among Us, is related the story we are about to narrate, 
but with the names of all the persons and places sug- 
gested by initial letters only. After no little trouble, 
we have succeeded in identifying the names implied, 
and now give the tale in a completed condition. It is 
stated to have been communicated to the writer by a 
friend of Lady Clark, from whose own lips the story 
had been received : 

" One morning, some years since, the wife of a di- 


tinguished London physician was in bed, at her house 
in Brook Street. It was daylight, and she was broad 
awake. The door opened ; but Lady Clark, concluding 
that it was her maid entering, did not raise her head, 
until a remarkable-looking figure, passing between hei 
bed and .the window, walked up to the fire-place, when, 
reflected in the mirror which hung above, Lady Clark 
recognized the features of her step-son, Dr. John 
Forbes Clark, then attached to a foreign embassy. He 
wore a long night-dress, and carried something on 
his arm. 

" ' Good Heavens ! Is that yoa, John, and in that 
dress ? ' cried Lady Clark, in the first surprise. 

" The figure turned slowly round, and she then 
became aware that the object he carried was a dead 
child, the body being swathed round and round in a 
large Indian scarf of remarkable workmanship, which 
Lady Clark had presented to Mrs. John Clark on the 
eve of her departure. 

"As she gazed, the outlines of the figure became 
indistinct, invisible, vanishing in the grey light, or 
blending with the familiar objects in the room. 

" Lady Clark neither fainted nor shrieked, nor even 
rang the bell. She lay back and thought the matter 
over, resolving to mention it to no one until the return 
of her husband, then absent in attendance on an 
illustrious household. His experience would* decide 
whether her physical health offered any solution of the 
phenomenon. As for its being a dream, it may be 
taken as an accepted fact that, though nobody is con- 


scious of the act of going to sleep, everybody knows 
by the sudden change of scenery, by the snapping 
of the chain of thought, and so forth, when he has 
been sleeping. 

" Very shortly after, Sir James returned home. On 
hearing the story, he immediately looked at the tongue 
that related such wonders, and likewise felt the lady's 
pulse. Both organs perfect. Of her nerves he had seen 
proof. Touching veracity, she was truth itself. All 
his skill could devise nothing better than a recom- 
mendation to patience, and to see what came of it. 
In the meantime, the day and hour were noted down, 

and the next advices from T awaited with more 

than usual interest. 

" At length they came. Dr. John Forbes Clark 
informed his father that their child, an only one, had 
died on such a day (that of the apparition), and that 
his wife, anxious that it should be laid to rest in the 
land of its birth, had begged that it might be forwarded 
by the next homeward ship. In due course it arrived, 
embalmed, but enclosed in a coffin so much larger than 
was required for the tiny occupant, that the intervening 
spaces had to be filled up with clothes, &c, while the 
Indian scarf had been wound, in many folds, around 
the child's body." 



In the thirteenth chapter of Boswell's Life of Johnson, 
will be found a sigular account of an apparition which 
appeared in Covent Garden, at a place called the " Old 
Hummunis." The story is slight, but it is famous ; 
and should, therefore, find a place in this collection. 
Some description of the place where the apparition 
appeared is necessary, in order to comprehend the full 
force of the impression which the account of its being 
seen there made upon the public mind. 

In the south-east corner of Covent Garden market- 
place were quite recently two hotels known by the 
strange names of the " Old Hummums " and the " New 
Hummums." The name is said to be a corruption of 
the Turkish name " Hamam," a bath. These buildings 
were originally devoted to the use of what is now known 
as " the Turkish Bath/' an institution introduced into 
England many years ago, the so-called "Turkish Bath" 
of the present day being only a revival of what was once 
very fashionable, but which, for a long time, had grown 
obsolete and been forgotten. These Hummums, how- 
ever, when first established in London, seem to have 
been mostly frequented by characters of ill reputation, and 
became, as in the East, a favourite rendezvous for gossip. 
They speedily grew to be useful for the purposes of 
intrigue, and this circumstance gradually led to their 
suppression as baths. Both the Old Hummums and the 
New Hummums were changed into respectable hotels, 


which character they have retained until their recent 
demolition, the original signification of their former 
titles being almost forgotten. 

The " Old Hummums " was the scene of what the 
great Dr. Johnson pronounced " the best accredited 
ghost story that he had ever heard/' The individual 
whose apparition was said to have appeared there was a 
Mr. Ford, a relation or connection of the learned doctor 
himself, and is said to have been the riotous parson of 
Hogarth's " Midnight Modern Conversation." Boswell, 
relating a conversation which took place at Mr. Thrale's 
house, at Streatham, between himself and Dr. Johnson, 
savs : 

" Amongst the numerous prints pasted on the walls 
of the dining-room of Streatham was Hogarth's 'Modern 
Midnight Conversation.' I asked him what he knew 
of Parson Ford, who makes a conspicuous figure in the 
riotous group. Johnson said : ' Sir, he was my acquain- 
tance and relation ; my mother's nephew. He had pur- 
chased a living in the country, but not simoniacally. I 
never saw him but in the country. I have been told he 
was a man of great parts ; very profligate, but I never 
heard he was impious/ Boswell asked, ' Was there 
not a story of his ghost having appeared ? ' Johnson 
said, ' Sir, it was believed. A waiter at the Hummums, 
in which house Ford died, had been absent for some 
time, and returned, not knowing that Ford w r as dead. 
Going down to the cellar, according to the story, he met 
him ; going down again, he met him a second time. 
When he came up, he asked some of the people of 


the house what Ford could be doing there. They told 
him Ford was dead. The waiter took a fever, in which 
he lay for some time. When he recovered he said he 
had a message to deliver to some women from Ford ; 
but he was not to tell what, or to whom. He walked 
out; he was followed, but somewhere about St. Paul's 
they lost him. He came back, and said he had delivered 
the message, and the women exclaimed, " Then we are 
all undone ! ' Dr. Pellet, who was not a credulous 
man, inquired into the truth of this story, and he said 
the evidence was irresistible. My wife went to the 
Hummums (it is a place where people get themselves 
cupped). I believe she went with the intention to hear 
about this story of Ford. At first they were unwilling 
to tell her ; but after they had talked to her she came 
away satisfied that it was true. To be sure the man 
had a fever, and this vision may have been the begin 
ning of it. But if the message to the women, and their 
behaviour upon it, were true as related, there was some- 
thing supernatural. That rests upon his word, and there 
it remains. ' " 


A very curious, but not an unparalleled, tradition is 
that referring to the so-called " Field of the Forty Foot- 
steps." The story, as generally told, and as adapted 
by Jane and Anna Maria Potter, in their romance on 

London: Southampton fields. 5lo 

the subject, is that two brothers, having taken different 
sides in the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion, met, and, 
having engaged each other in fight, were both killed. 
Where they fought was in a field at the back of the 
British Museum, at the extreme north-east of Upper 
Montague Street, formerly known as Southampton 
Fields. Where the steps of the two desperate men 
pressed the ground no grass, according to tradition, 
would ever grow, and for many years the impressions, 
said to have been forty, of their feet, remained bare and 
ungrown over. 

Many other accounts of this popular tradition exist, 
however, and from them may be selected the following, 
the substance of which appeared in the Arminian 
Magazine for 1781. The Brothers Steps, as they are 
styled, are stated to be discoverable in a field about the 
third of a mile northward from Montague House, now 
replaced by the British Museum. Their origin is, 
according to this version, due to the footprints of two 
brothers who quarrelled about a worthless woman, and 
fought out their quarrel at this place. u The prints of 
their feet," says this authority, " are about the depth of 
three inches, and nothing will vegetate, so much as to 
disfigure them. The number is only eighty-three " 
{forty may have been adopted for its alliterative sound), 
"but probably some at present are filled up. For I 
think there were formerly more in the centre, where 
each unhappy combatant wounded the other to death. 
And a bank on which the first fell retains the form 
of his agonizing couch by the curse of barrenness, while 



grass flourishes all about it. Mr. George Hall, who 
was the librarian of Lincoln's Inn, first showed me those 
steps twenty-eight years ago, when, I think, they were 
not quite so deep as now. He remembered them about 
thirty years, and the man who first showed them him 
about thirty more, which goes back to the year 1692 ; 
but I suppose they originated in the reign of King 
Charles the Second.* My mother well remembered 
their being ploughed up, and corn sown to deface 
them, about fifty years ago. But all was labour in 
vain, for the prints returned, in a while, to their pristine 
form, as probably will those that are now filled up.' - ' 

The above account of the The Brothers' Footsteps 
appeared so extraordinary to the Editor of the Arminian 
Magazine that, as he says, he did not know what to 
think of it. He knew his informant to be a person of 
good understanding and real piety, and yet " he testified 
what he had seen with his own eyes/' To satisfy him- 
self about the strange recital, the Editor determined to 
seek out more evidence, and he soon found it. 

"Awhile ago," runs his narrative, "being at Mr. 
Cary's, in Copthall Buildings, I occasionally mentioned 
The Brothers' Footsteps, and asked the company if they 
had heard anything of them. ' Sir,' said Mr. Cary, 
' sixteen years agu I saw and counted them myself.' 
Another added, ' And I saw them four years ago.' I 
could no longer doubt but they had been seen. And, 
a week or two after, I went with Mr. Cary and another 
person to seek them. 

* The Duke of Monmouth's rebellion took place in 1685. Ed. 


w We sought for nearly half an hour in vain. We 
could find no steps at all within a quarter of a mile, no, 
nor half a mile, north of Montague House. We were 
almost out of hope, when an honest man, who was at 
work, directed us to the next ground, adjoining to a 
pond. There we found what we sought for, about 
three-quarters of a mile north of Montague House, and 
about five hundred vards east of Tottenham Court Eoad. 

The steps answer Mr. W 's description. They are 

of the size of a large human foot, about three inches 
deep, and lie nearly from north-east to south-west. We 
counted only seventy-six ; but we were not exact in 
counting. The place where one, or both, the brothers 
are supposed to have fallen is still bare of grass. The 
labourer showed us also the bank where (the tradition 
is) the wretched woman sat to see the combat." 


Lostock Tower, about four miles to the west of Bolton, 
is one of the numerous haunted homes of Lancashire. 
It figures in Roby's well-known Lancashire Legends as 
the locality of a cruel wrong, aud proves that appari- 
tions have more regard for moral than legal rights. The 
Tower was formerly an imposing structure, built chiefly 
of wood and plaster, and surrounded by a moat. The 
gateway, which occupies the site of a much more 



ancient building, is now almost all that is left of the 
Anderton's old homestead. It is chiefly " built of brick 
and stone, interspersed with string courses and mould- 
ings. The windows are very large, and are divided into 
compartments by strong mullions." 

" Over one of the upper windows," writes Mr. Wil- 
kinson, " there is a deep panel containing a coat of 
arms, now almost obliterated. On the front of the 
house there is the date ' a.d. 1591 ' ; and a panel over 
the doorway, on which is the inscription ' S. F. A. 
1702,' obviously marks the period when this portion of 
the Hall was either enlarged or repaired. This cha- 
racteristic residence was not very judiciously situated, 
according to modern ideas. There is much low ground 
in the neighbourhood, which contains several rather 
picturesque sheets of water, and it is, besides, in the 
immediate vicinity of the boggy tract known as Red 
Moss. The river Croal rises from this marshy ground, 
which, after passing through Bolton, falls into the 
Irwell ; the far-famed Douglas, also, has its origin in the 
same Moss, and, after flowing through Wigan, falls into 
the Kibble near Hesketh. 

" Lostock Tower formerly belonged to the Andertons, 
but has since merged into the hands of the Blundells of 
Ince. There is a story of wrong connected with one 
of the early Andertons, which has passed into a tradi- 
tion, and is even yet a source of heart-burning to a 
family named Heaton, resident in a neighbouring town- 
ship of the same name. This tradition states that one 
of the Heatons was an improvident man, and wasted 


much of his patrimony. He became deeply involved 
in debt, and mortgaged his township to Anderton of the 
Tower. The day for payment duly arrived, but the 
Heatons had not raised the money. The evening passed 
on, and at a somewhat early hour the Andertons retired 
to bed. They had not lain long before the Heatons 
were thundering at the doors ; for they had raised the 
amount at the last moment, and were ready to pay. The 
owner of the Tower, however, coveted the property, and 
refused to let them in, because they ought to have been 
ready before the going down of the sun. On the 
morrow he said they were too late, and declared that 
the mortgage was foreclosed. 

" The wrong done to the Heatons was never for- 
given, for the family was utterly ruined; and it is 
stated that the soul of the wrongdoer is doomed to re- 
visit the scene of his crime until the property is restored. 
It is also affirmed that no horse from the Tower, so 
long as it was occupied by an Anderton, could ever be 
forced to cross the stream into the manor of Heaton. 
Sir Francis Anderton took part in the Rebellion of 
1745, and soon after lost his estates. In 1750 he was 
reported to be over sixty years of age, and childless ; 
his property was held by the Crown under trustees, and 
eventually passed to the Blundells, he living in retire- 
ment until his death. This gentleman's fate is con- 
sidered to be an act of retributive justice for the wrong 
done to the Heaton family by his ancestor of the 



In 1852 the Rev. R. Mostyn Pryce published an 
account of certain circumstances of a singular charac- 
ter which had occurred in Montgomery. In the Intro- 
duction to his narrative, he refers to a solitary grave in 
a remote corner of the churchyard, known as " The 
Robber's Grave." It is not a raised mound, but is a 
bare space, level with the surrounding ground, and is 
of the shape and size of a coffin. The story con- 
nected with this grassless grave is to the following 
effect : 

At Chirbury, in the vicinity of Montgomery, was 
Oakfield, a house (that in better days had been a manor 
house) which, with the surrounding farm, was possessed 
by a widow named Morris. Her husband, a dissolute, 
indolent man, had left her and their only child, a 
daughter, in distressed circumstances, and, for some 
time, it was supposed that Mrs. Morris would have to 
part with the property, in which case it was to be let 
to a Thomas Pearce, to whose ancestors it had formerly 
belonged. Pearce had long waited and watched in 
hopes of one day becoming a tenant of the property his 
ancestors had squandered away; but just at the time 
when his expectations appeared to be on the point of 
realization, they were utterly frustrated. A young man 
styled " John Newton " in the story,* from Stafford- 

* His real name was John Da vies. 


shire, having been introduced to Mrs. Morris by her 
brother, was taken into her service as bailiff, and 
managed the farm for her with such assiduity and skill, 
that in a little while it became prosperous and flourish- 
ing, and all thoughts of resigning it to Pearce were 

Newton, to whose able management and industry this 
improvement was due, was an utter stranger to the 
neighbourhood. Nor did he appear willing to make 
any acquaintances beyond what business arrangements 
necessitated. He was obliged to attend the neighbour- 
ing fairs and markets, and he was a regular attendant 
at Chirbury Church ; but he kept only his own com- 
pany and his own counsel, even all the efforts of the 
clergyman of the parish failing to draw him out of his 
secluded habits and reserved manner. " He was, in- 
deed," says Mr. Pryce, "for the most part, a melancholy 
grief-haunted man. Yet, in the pursuit of his occupa- 
tions at Oakfield, he appeared contented and happy. 
His manner and behaviour towards the widow and her 
daughter were, at all times, marked with respect and 
even cheerfulness. He seemed to consider it a part of 
his duty to alleviate, by every means in his power, their 
cares and troubles, and to lighten their domestic soli- 
tude. Occasionally, when the day had closed upon his 
toils, he would read to them." 

For more than two years this state of affairs lasted, 
and Mrs. Morris was by no means displeased to notice 
that her daughter's sentiments towards Newton were of 
a very friendly nature. " She watched with a mother's 


anxiety and a mother's approbation," says our autho- 
rity, " the growing affection of her child towards the 
stranger: for he was a stranger still. Studiously avoid- 
ing all reference to himself, his kindred, or his former 
life, he shrank sensitively from any allusion to the past, 
and felt grateful to them both when, with instinctive 
delicacy, they seemed content that his early history 
should remain unknown to them." 

The stranger's skilful management of Oakfield, and 
the continually increasing interest which he appeared to 
obtain in its household, had excited anything but 
pleasurable feelings in more breasts than one. Thomas 
Pearce had naturally felt jealous with Newton, and was 
intensely disappointed " when baffled in his hopes of 
sheltering himself again beneath the roof-tree of his 
forefathers," yet he had apparently lived down his 
regrets. But Robert Parker, a young farmer and neigh- 
bour of Pearce, hated Newton with a still keener hate, 
for in him he beheld a successful rival for the affections 
of Jane Morris, of whom he had long been a fond but, 
as yet, unprofessed lover. 

These two disappointed and vengeance-seeking men 
met frequently to discuss matters, and, at last, devised 
a plan for getting rid of the obnoxious stranger. Their 
proceedings are thus detailed by Mr. Pryce : 

" It was at length resolved to charge Newton with 
s ome offence which should banish him the country. 

" An opportunity of accomplishing their purpose at 
length occurred. Newton had been attending a fair in 
the neighbourhood, and was detained on business till a 


late hour, It was six o'clock on a dark November 
evening, when he left Welshpool to walk home. Parker, 
who had been stealthily watching his proceedings, fol- 
lowed, with Pearce, at a little distance. In a short time 
Newton was brought back to town by the two men, 
taken before a magistrate, charged with high-way robbery, 
and committed." 

The charge brought against him by the two confede- 
rates, men of known respectability, was that of '* High- 
way robbery with violence," a crime, at that time, 
punishable with death. The prisoner employed no 
counsel, asked the witnesses no questions, and merely 
protested his innocence of the charge. 

He was pronounced "Guilty." When the judge 
asked him if he had anything to say why sentence of 
death should not be passed upon him, he responded in 
a firm voice, that he forgave those men upon whose 
false testimony he had been convicted, "But, my Lord,'' 
he exclaimed, " I protest most solemnly, before that God 
in whose presence I must shortly appear, I am entirely 
guiltless of the crime for which I am about to suffer. 
. . . I do not say that I am an innocent man. I have 
committed a crime, but it is known only to my Creator 
and myself. I have endeavoured to atone for it by 
all the means in my power . . . and I humbly believe 
I have been forgiven. ... I protest once more, I am 
entirely innocent of this charge. ... It is my devout 
and earnest desire that the stain of this crime may not 
rest upon my name. ... I have, therefore, in humble 
devotion, offered a prayer to heaven, and believe it has 


been heard and accepted. ... I venture to assert that 
if I am innocent of the crime for which I suffer, the 
grass, for one generation, at least, will not cover my 

The unfortunate man was condemned and executed, 
and his remains were buried in Montgomery Church- 
yard. It was noticed that no sooner did the bell begin 
to toll for the execution than the sky became overcast ; 
' no sooner had he placed his foot upon the scaffold 
than a fearful darkness spread around; and the moment 
the fatal bolt was withdrawn, the lightnings flashed 
with terrific vividness, the thunders rolled in awful 
majesty, until the town hill seemed shaken to its base ; 
the rain poured down in torrents; the multitude dis- 
persed horror-stricken and appalled, some crying out, 
' The end of all things is come ! '" This was in 

Of the two witnesses against the unfortunate man, 
Parker became a dissolute drunkard and was killed at 
the blasting of some rocks in the lime-works in Llany- 
mynech, whilst the other, Pearce, became dispirited 
and, as our informant remarks, " wasted away from 
the earth." Mrs. Morris and her daughter left Oak- 
field for ever. 

Writing in 1852, Mr. Pryce says : " Thirty years 
have passed away and the grass has not covered his 
grave!" And again : "Numerous attempts have, from 
time to time, been made by some who are still alive, 
and others who have passed away, to bring grass upon 
that bare spot. Fresh soil has been frequently spread 


upon it, and seeds of various kinds have been sown ; but 
not a blade has ever been known to spring from them, 
and the soil has soon become a smooth, and cold, and 
stubborn clay." 

In 1852, soon after Mr. Pryce's narrative had been 
written, " some sacrilegious hand " covered the grave 
with turf, and so tended it, that it grew all over it, save 
at the head, which remained bare, with the turf withered 
" as if blasted by the lightning's stroke." A month or 
so, and the grass again died away, leaving the grave 
once more bare ! 

The Rev. Fred. W. Parker, Rector of Montgomery, 
informs us that there is still a bare spot over the grave, 
which he has known for thirty-eight years, but that it is 
not so large as it has been in his memory. Mr. Parker 
has, also, kindly forwarded us a copy of a statement 
made some years ago by William Weeks, the then 
Parish Clerk, confirming some of the particulars above 
given, and stating that he made the grave (in 1821), 
and buried John Davies, and that " attempts have been 
made by different persons to cause the grass to grow on 
the grave by putting fresh soil and sowing seeds, &c, 
but hitherto without success. The grave has always 
returned, in a short time after each experiment, to the 
state in which it now is." 



In January 1884, Mr. James Spry sent an account to 
The Western Antiquary, of a supernatural being, popu- 
larly known as " Benjie Gear," which long troubled 
Okehampton and the neighbourhood with its pranks, 
and even now-a-days occasionally disturbs the good folks 
thereabouts. There is little in the legend connected 
with this apparition to distinguish it from many similar 
bits of folk-lore which crop up in most parts of England, 
but as a specimen of its class it is worth citation. 

On the high gable end of an ancient house in Oke- 
hampton may be seen two gigantic iron letters, the 
initials of Benjamin Gayer, a former inhabitant. The 
house may readily be discovered, as it abuts on an 
irregular triangle formed by the houses behind the 
chantry. These initials, in italic capitals, are alluded 
to, in a local metrical version of the legend they com- 
memorate, thus : 

Behind the chantry mote be yred, 

The initial scroll of the burgher dead. 

Stout of heart they esteem the wight 

"Who reads these letters at dead of night ; 

Though the moon be glinted back the while 

From the oriel light of the chantry aisle : 

Never pass but breathe a prayer 

For the soul's best peace on Master Gayer, 

Tcedio vitoz quo confectus 

Nunc ad ozthera transvectus, 

Socius fuit qui sanctorum, 

Ccelu gaudeat angelorum ! 

Where life's troubled waters rest, 

In the haven of the blest. 


Mr. Spry suggests that the citizen thus commemorated 
may have been almoner of the money collected from 
the charitable of his time for the ransom of captives in 
Mohammedan lands, and that he may have appropriated 
such alms to his own use; hence his unsettled condition 
in the spirit "world. His reason for this opinion would 
appear to be this extract u from a note on the history of 
Okehampton " : 

" Mr. B. Gayer, with the philanthropy of a good 
burgess, as shown in his collections for the relief of 
poor Protestant prisoners in Turkey, would have been, 
but for these researches, a dead letter in the book of 
his little history : but tradition has preserved an ugly 
report of his own unquiet and imprisoned spirit. What 
child, or eke man or woman of our town, but has, some 
time or other, been terrified or amused at the story of 
Gayer the revenant ? " 

Notwithstanding the statement that this old citizen 
Btill haunts his native place, he is declared to have been 
laid some years ago. Mr. Spry's account is that Benjie 
Gear troubled the inhabitants of Okehampton to such 
an extent that " the aid of the Archdeacon was called 
in, and the clergy were assembled in order that the 
troubled spirit might be laid and cease to trouble 
them. There were twenty-three of the clergy who 
invoked him in various classic languages, but the 
insubordinate spirit refused to listen to their request. 
At length one, more learned than the rest, addressed 
him in Arabic, to which he was forced to succumb, 
saying, ' Now thou art come, I must be gone ! ' He 


was then compelled to take the form of a colt ; a new 
bridle and bit, which had never been used, were pro- 
cured, with a rider, to whom the Sacrament was admini- 
stered. The man was directed to ride the colt to 
Cranmere Pool on Dartmoor, the following instructions 
being given him. He was to prevent the colt from 
turning its head towards the town until they were out 
of the Park, and then make straight for the Pool, and 
when he got to the slope, to slip from the colt's back, 
pull the bridle off, and let him go. All this was 
dexterously performed, and the impetus thus gained by 
the animal with the intention of throwing the rider 
over its head into the Pool, accomplished its own 

As the citizens of Okehampton are still somewhat 
nervous on the score of meeting old " Benjie Gear's " 
apparition, the " laying," after all, was, probably, only 
temporary, or not so well carried out as it should have 


A frequent objection to ghostly visitants is that they 
trouble folks for no apparent purpose : they come and 
go, without seeming to accomplish anything more than 
the disarrangement of the spectator's nervous system. 
Such an objection cannot be raised against the follow* 

PEKTH. 529 

ing curious account, related by the Earl of Shrewsbury 
to Dr. Binns, and published by the latter in his Anatomy 
of Sleep, with the remark that " perhaps there is not a 
better authenticated case on record." The apparently 
trivial nature of the spectral communication, so different 
from the deadly or important presage commonly accorded 
to the appearance of ghosts, only renders this case 
more noteworthy. The story was originally told to the 
Countess of Shrewsbury by the Kev. Charles McKay, a 
Catholic priest, in the following letter, dated Perth, 
October 21, 1842 : 

"In July 1838 I left Edinburgh, to take charge of 
the Perthshire missions. On my arrival in Perth, the 
principal station, I was called upon by a Presbyterian 
woman (Anne Simpson by name), who for more than a 
week had been in the utmost anxiety to see a priest. 
On asking her what she wanted with me, she answered, 
1 Oh, Sir, I have been terribly troubled for several nights 
by a person appearing to me during the night.' ' Are 
you a Catholic, my good woman ? ' 'No, Sir; I am a 
Presbyterian.' ' Why, then, do you come to me ? I 
am a Catholic priest.' ' But, Sir, she (meaning the 
person that had appeared to her) desired me to go to 
the priest, and I have been inquiring for a priest during 
the last week.' ' Why did she wish you to go to the 
priest ? ' ' She said she owed a sum of money, and the 
priest would pay it.' 'What was the sum of money she 
owed?' 'Three and tenpence, Sir.' 'To whom did 
she owe it?' ' I do not know, Sir.' 'Are you sure 
you have not been dreaming ? ' ' Oh, God forgive you ! 


for she oppears to me every night. I can get no rest.' 
* Lhd you know the woman you say appears to you ? ' 
' I was poorly lodged, Sir, near the barracks, and I 
often saw and spoke to her as she went in and out to 
the barracks, and she called herself Maloy.' 

" I made inquiry, and found that a woman of that 
name had died, who had acted as washerwoman and 
followed the regiment. Following up the inquiry, I 
found a grocer with whom she had dealt, and, on asking 
him if a person, a female, named Maloy, owed him any- 
thing, he turned up his books, and told me she did owe 
him three and tenpence. I paid the sum. The grocer 
knew nothing of her death, nor, indeed, of her character, 
but that she was attached to the barracks. Subsequently 
the Presbyterian woman came to me, saying that she 
was no more troubled." 


The Life of the Rev. R. H. Barham, as these pages 
will show, contains more than one singular narration of 
the supernatural. One of the most popular is that 
related by Mrs. Hughes, of an apparition seen at Ports- 
mouth ; and although the exact house in that seaport is 
not mentioned by name, the story itself is so frequently 
alluded to, that, despite this want of authenticated 
locality, it should be included in our collection. It 


was narrated to Mrs. Hughes by Mrs. Hastings, wife 
of Captain Hastings, R.N., and is to the following 
effect : 

Captain and Mrs. Hastings were driving into Ports- 
mouth one afternoon, when a Mr. Hamilton, who had 
recently been appointed to a situation in the dockyard 
there, made a third in their chaise, being on his way to 
take possession of his post. As the vehicle passed the 
end of one of the narrow lanes which abound in the 
town, the latter gentleman, who had for some little time 
been more grave and silent than usual, broke through 
the reserve which had drawn a remark from the lady, 
and gave the following reason for his taciturnity : 

"It was," said he, "the recollection of the lane we 
have just passed, and of a very singular circumstance 
which occurred to me at a house in it some eighteen 
years ago, which occupied my thoughts at the moment, 
and which, as we are old friends, and I know you will 
not laugh at me, I will repeat to you. 

" At the period alluded to, I had arrived in the town 
for the purpose of joining a ship in which I was about 
to proceed abroad. On inquiry, I found that the vessel 
had not come round from the Downs, but was expected 
every hour. The most unpleasant part of the business 
was, that two or three King's ships had just been paid 
off in the harbour, a county election was going on, and 
the town was filled with people waiting to occupy 
berths in an outward-bound fleet which a contrary wind 
had for some days prevented from sailing. This com- 
bination of p-vents, of course, made Portsmouth very 



full and very disagreeable. After wandering half over 
the town without success, I at length happened to 
inquire at a decent-looking public-house, situate in the 
lane alluded to, where a very civil, though a very cross- 
looking landlady at length made me happy by the 
intelligence that she would take me in, if I did not mind 
sleeping in a double-bedded room. I certainly did 
object to a fellow-lodger, and so I told her; but as I 
coupled the objection with an offer to pay handsomely 
for both beds, though I should occupy only one of 
them, our bargain was settled, and I took possession of 
my apartment. 

" Having retired for the night, and having, as I 
thought, carefully locked the door to keep out intruders, 
I undressed, jumped beneath the clothes, and fell fast 

" I had slept, I suppose, an hour or more, when I 
was awakened by a noise in the lane below. I was 
turning round to recompose myself, when I peroeived, 
by the light of the moon which shone brightly into the 
room, that the bed opposite was occupied by a man, 
having the appearance of a sailor. He was only partially 
undressed, having his trousers on, and what appeared 
to be a belcher handkerchief tied round his head by 
way of a nightcap. His position was half sitting, half 
reclining on the outside of the bed, and he seemed to be 
fast asleep. 

" I was, of course, very angry that the landlady 
should have broken her covenant with me, and at first 
felt half disposed to desire the intruder to withdraw; 


but, as the man was quiet, and I had no particular wish 
to spend the rest of the night in an altercation, I 
thought it wiser to let things alone till the morning, 
when I determined to give my worthy hostess a good 
jobation for her want of faith. After watching him for 
some time, and seeing that my chum maintained the 
same posture, though he could not be aware that I 
was awake, I reclosed my eyes, and once more fell 

" It was broad daylight when I awoke in the morning, 
and the sun was shining full in through the window. 
My slumbering friend apparently had never moved, and 
I had a fair opportunity of observing his features, 
which, though of a dark complexion, were not ill- 
favoured, and were set off by a pair of bushy black 
whiskers that would have done honour to a rabbi. 
What surprised me most, however, was that I could now 
plainly perceive that what I had taken in the moonlight 
for a red handkerchief on his forehead was in reality a 
white one, but quite saturated in parts with a crimson 
fluid, which trickled down his left cheek, and seemed to 
have run upon the pillow. 

"At the moment the question occurred to me, how 
could the strauger have procured admission to the 
room ? as I saw but one door, and that I felt confident 
I had locked, while I was quite positive my gentleman 
had not been in the chamber when I retired to bed. 

"I got out and walked to the door, which was in the 
centre of one side of the room, nearly half-way between 
the two beds ; and as I approached it, one of the 



curtains interposed for a moment so as to conceal my 
unknown companion from my view. I found the door 
fastened, with the key in the lock, just as I had left it. 
Not a little surprised at the circumstance, I now walked 
across to the further bed to get an explanation from my 
comrade, when, to my astonishment, he was nowhere to 
be seen ! Scarcely an instant before I had observed him 
stretched in the same position which he had all along 
maintained ; and it was difficult to conceive how he had 
managed to make his exit so instantaneously, as it 
were, without my having perceived or heard him. I, in 
consequence, commenced a close examination of the 
wainscot near the head of the bed, having first satisfied 
myself that he was concealed neither under it nor by the 
curtain. No door nor aperture of any kind was to be 

" I was the first person up in the house ; a slipshod 
being, however, soon made its appearance, and began 
to place a few cinders, &c, in a grate not much cleaner 
than its own face and hands. From this individual I 
endeavoured to extract some information respecting my 
nocturnal visitor, but in vain ; it ' knowed nothing of 
no sailors,' and I was compelled to postpone my 
inquiries till the appearance of the mistress, who de- 
scended in due time. 

"After greeting her with all the civility I could 
muster, I proceeded to inquire for my bill, telling her that 
I certainly should not take breakfast, nor do anything 
more for the good of the house, after her breach of promise 
respecting the privacy of my sleeping-room. The good 


lady met me at once with a * Marry come up ! ' a faint 
flush came over her cheeks, her little grey eyes twinkled, 
and her whole countenance gained in animation what 
it lost in placidity. 

" ' What did I mean ? I had bespoke the whole 
room, and I had had the whole room ; and, though she 
said it, there was not a more comfortable room in all 
Portsmouth ; she might have let the spare bed five times 
over, and had refused because of my fancy. Did I think 
to bilk her ? and called myself a gentleman, she sup- 
posed ! ' 

" I easily stopped the torrent of her eloquence by 
depositing a guinea (about a fourth more than her 
whole demand) upon the bar, and was glad to relin- 
quish the offensive for the defensive. It was, therefore, 
with a most quaker-like mildness that I rejoined that 
certainly I had not to complain of any actual incon- 
venience from the vicinity of my fellow-lodger, but 
that, having agreed to pay double for the indulgence of 
my whim, if such she was pleased to call it, I, of course, 
expected the conditions to be observed on the other side; 
but I was now convinced that they had been violated 
without her privity, and that some of her people had 
doubtless introduced the man into the room, in igno- 
rance, probably, of our understanding. 

" ' What man ? ' retorted she, briskly. * There was 
nobody in your room, unless you let him in yourself; 
had you not the key, and did not I hear you lock the 
door after you ? " 

"That I admitted to be true. * Nevertheless,' added 


I, taking up my portmanteau and half turning to depart, 
1 there certainly was a man, a sailor, in my room last 
night ; though I know no more how he got in or out 
than I do where he got his hroken head or his uncon- 
scionable whiskers.' 

" My foot was on the threshold as I ended, that I 
might escape the discharge of a reply which I foreboded 
would not be couched in the politest of terms. But it 
did not come; and, as I threw back a parting glance at 
my fair foe, I could not help being struck with the very 
different expression of her features from that which I 
had anticipated. 

" I hesitated, and at length a single word, uttered 
distinctly but slowly, and as if breathlessly spoken, 
fell upon my ear ; it was ' Whiskers ! ' 

" ' Ay, whiskers,* I replied ; ' I never saw so splendid 
a pair in my life.' 

" ' And a broken ! For Heaven's sake come back 

one moment,' said the lady ; ' let me entreat you, Sir, 
to tell me, without disguise, who and what you saw in 
your bedroom last night.' 

" 'No one, madam,' was my answer, 'but the sailor 
of whose intrusion I before complained, and who, I 
presume, took refuge there from some drunken fray to 
sleep off the effects of his liquor ; as, though evidently 
a good deal knocked about, he did not appear to be 
very sensible of his condition/ 

" An earnest request to describe his person followed, 
which I did to the best of my recollection, dwelling par- 
ticularly on the wounded temple and the remarkable 


whiskers, which formed, as it were, a perfect fringe to 
his face. 

" ' Then, Lord have mercy upon me ! ' said the woman 
in accents of mingled terror and distress ; * it 's all true, 
and the house is ruined for ever ! ' 

"So singular a declaration only whetted my curiosity; 
and the landlady, who now seemed anxious to make 
a friend of me, soon satisfied my inquiries in a few 

" After obtaining a promise of secrecy she informed 
me that, on the third evening previous to my arrival, a 
party of sailors were drinking in her house, when a 
quarrel ensued between them and some marines. The 
dispute at length rose to a great height. The landlady 
in vain endeavoured to interfere, till at length a heavy 
blow, struck with the edge of a pewter pot, lighting 
upon the temple of a stout young fellow of five-and- 
twenty, one of the most active of the sailors, brought 
him to the ground senseless and covered with blood. 
He never spoke again ; but, although his friends imme- 
diately conveyed him upstairs and placed him on the 
bed, endeavouring to staunch the blood, and doing all 
in their power to save him, he breathed his last in a few 

" In order to hush up the affair, the woman admitted 
that she had consented to the body being buried in 
the garden, where it was interred the same night by 
two of his comrades. The man having been just dis- 
charged, it was calculated that no inquiry after him was 
likely to take place. 


'"But then, Sir,' cried the landlady, wringing her 
hands, ' it 's all of no use ! Foul deeds will rise ; and 
I shall never dare to put anybody into your room again, 
for there it was he was carried; they took off his 
jacket and waistcoat, and tied up his wound with a 
handkerchief, but they never could stop the bleeding 
till all was over; and, as sure as you are standing 
there a living man, he is come back to trouble us, for if 
he had been sitting to you for his picture you could not 
have painted him more accurately than you have done.' 

" Startling as this hypothesis of the old woman was, 
I could substitute no better ; and, as the prosecution of 
the inquiry must have necessarily operated to delay my 
voyage, without answering, as far as I could see, any 
good end, I walked quietly down to the Point, and, my 
ship arriving in the course of the afternoon, I went im- 
mediately on board, set sail the following morning for 
the Mediterranean, and have never again set foot in 
Portsmouth from that hour to this." 

Thus ended Mr. Hamilton's narrative. 

The next day the whole party set out to reconnoitrs 
the present appearance of the house, but some difficulty 
was experienced in identifying it, the building having 
been converted into a greengrocer's shop about five 
years before. A dissenting chapel had been built on 
the site of the garden, but nothing was said by their 
informant of any skeleton having been found while 
digging for the foundation, nor did Mr. Hamilton think 
it advisable to push any inquiries on the subject. 

Why Mr. Hamilton should not have deemed it advi- 


sable to investigate the matter fully is difficult to divine. 
The house, however, would appear to have in some 
respects resembled one referred to by a Mr. Sam well in 
the following narrative, and was, probably, the same. 
In the year 1792, according to the account given, Mr. 
Samwell, a medical officer of the Royal Navy, was 
travelling from London to Portsmouth by the coach, in 
order to join the man-of-war to which he had been 
appointed. He was a man of some little literary and 
scientific attainment, and had published various works 
in both prose and verse. Among the former was a nar- 
rative of the death of Captain Cook, whom he had sailed 
with on his last voyage, and which was believed to be 
thoroughly accurate, as well as well-written. It was 
quoted verbatim by Dr. Kippis in his life of the cele- 
brated circumnavigator. With such acquirements, re- 
marks our informant, Mr. Samwell was not likely to 
harbour any notions bordering on the superstitious. 

An accident which had befallen the coach near Lewes, 
in Sussex, caused a delay of several hours, insomuch 
that the passengers, on reaching Portsmouth, found the 
inns and other houses of entertainment shut. After 
wandering for a considerable time, Mr. Samwell per- 
ceived a light in an obscure quarter leading to Portsea, 
and, entering the house, inquired if he could repose 
there for the night. Being conducted to a bed-room, 
he was scarcely in bed, taken up with reflections about 
joining his ship in the morning, when he distinctly 
heard several taps at the door. Piising in his bed, he 
saw, at the bed-side, a figure of a tall man, wrapped in 


a shaggy great-coat, and wearing a slouched hat, with a 
lantern in his hand. Not being able to procure any 
reply to the question he propounded as to the drift of 
this intrusion, Mr. Samwell sprang forward and made a 
grasp at the intruder, when, to his immense surprise, he 
only grasped the air ! 

The light suddenly disappeared ; not a footstep was 
to be heard, and everything was wrapped in silence. 
From his bed he crept to the door, which was bolted 
inside, and alarmed the house. 

On the arrival of the inmates, whom he was careful 
not to admit into the apartment, he provided himself 
with a light, and searched everywhere within, to dis- 
cover, if possible, a trap-door by which the intruder 
might have silently escaped ; but his search was without 

The woman of the house, when he explained matters, 
treated his story as a dream, and solicited him to go to 
bed again ; but, having dressed himself, he left the 
house, preferring to pass the night on the ramparts 
rather than endure any more such interruptions. In 
the morning he related what had happened to him to 
several persons, describing the house and its position ; 
when he was told that a mystery was hanging about it, 
which Sir John Carter, the mayor, had for some time 
anxiously endeavoured to clear up. Not one, but 
several strangers, who had resorted thither, had, from 
time to time, unaccountably disappeared; and what 
seemed to prove how easily their bodies might have been 
disposed of after they had been robbed and murdered, 





was shown from the fact that the back part of the house 
hung over a mud ditch, into which the bodies might 
have been cast without causing any alarm to the vicinity. 
Mr. Samwell's loquacity does not, however, appear to 
have drawn forth any more definite information than did 
Mr. Hamilton's reticence. 


Seven miles to the south of Edinburgh is the village of 
Roslin, celebrated for its chapel and castle. Roslin 
Chapel, about which traditions still flourish, is as much 
noted for its legendary lore as for its unique architec- 
tural beauty. The building is small, but is particularly 
rich in Gothic decorative stonework ; its chief attraction, 
however, in that way being a very fine carved column 
known as the " Prentice's Pillar.*' This pillar, in 
marked contrast with the severe simplicity of the other 
columns, is wreathed about, from base to capital, with 
richly carved bands, and, according to tradition, was 
executed by an inspired apprentice. 

This charming architectural gem, the ancient and 
romantic chapel of Roslin, was founded, in the %ear 
1446, by William St. Clair, Prince of Orkney, Duke ot 
Oldenburgh, and of enough other titles, as an old 
authority observes, even to weary a Spaniard. The 
original design for the chapel was never carried out, the 


chancel only being completed, and the transept begun. 
About two centuries ago, the edifice was much defaced 
by a mob, and at one time was in danger of becoming 
quite ruinous, when, happily, General St. Clair had it 
repaired, and his successors have continued the work 
of preservation. 

The family vault of the St. Clairs is beneath the 
pavement of the chapel, and there the barons were 
anciently buried in their armour, without any " useless 
coffin.' - ' A manuscript history, quoted by Sir Walter 
Scott, thus alludes to a family interment in the vault at 
.Roslin : " When my good father was buried, his (a 
long deceased Baron of Roslin) corpse seemed to be 
entire at the opening of the cave ; but when they came 
to touch his body, it fell into dust. He was laying in 
his armour, with a red velvet cap on his head, on a flat 
stone ; nothing was spoiled, except a piece of the white 
furring that went round the cap, and answered to the 
hinder part of the head. All his predecessors were 
buried after the same manner, in their armour ; late 
Kosline, my good father, was the first that was buried 
in a coffin, against the sentiments of King James the 
Seventh, who was then in Scotland, and several other 
persons well versed in antiquity, to whom my mother 
would not hearken, thinking it beggarly to be buried 
after that manner." 

But the wierd and curious superstition which lends 
so much romantic interest to Roslin, and which has 
caused it to be a favourite theme for poets, is the belief 
that whenever any of the founder's descendents are 


about to die the chapel appears to be on fire. Not- 
thstanding the fact that the last " Roslin," as he was 
called, died in 1778, and the estates passed into the 
possession of the Erskines, Earls of Rosslyn, the old 
tradition has not been extinguished. The manner 
and matter of the time-honoured legend are so well 
portrayed by Harold's song in The Lay of the Last 
Minstrel, that it had better be quoted from here : 

O'er Roslin all that dreary night 
A wondrous blaze was seen to gleam ; 

'Twas broader than the watch-fire liffht. 
And redder than the bright moon-beam. 

It glared on Roslin's castled rock, 

It ruddied all the copse-wood glen ; 
'T was seen from Dryden's groves of oak, 

And seen from caverned Hawthornden. 

Seemed all on fire that chapel proud, 
Where Roslin's chiefs uncoffin'd lie ; 

Each baron, for a sable shroud, 
Sheathed in his iron panoply. 

Seemed all on fire, within, around, 

L)eep sacristy and altars pale ; 
Shone every pillar, foliage bound, 

And glimmered all the dead men's maiL 

Blazed battlement and pinnet high, 

Blazed every rose-carved buttress fair- 
So still they blaze when fate is nigh 
The lordly line of Hugh St. Clair. 

There are twenty of Roslin's barons bold 
Lie buried within that proud chapelle I 

Each one that holy vault doth hold 
But the sea holds lovely Rosabella I 



The famous old Samlesbury Hall stands about half-way 
between Preston and Blackburn. It is placed in a broad 
plain, looking southwards towards the woody heights of 
Hoghton ; eastwards towards the lofty ridges which run 
through Mellor and Billington to Pendle ; Preston and 
the broad estuary of the Ribble occupy the western 
prospect, whilst northwards, Longridge, leading towards 
the heights of Bowland, fills the scene : " enclosing a 
landscape," remarks Mr. T. T. Wilkinson, " which for 
picturesque beauty and historic interest has few equals 
in the country." 

Samlesbury is famed in occult lore as the place 
whence Grace Sowerbutts and other notorious witches 
came. They were tried for witchcraft early in the 
seventeenth century, but escaped the fate generally 
meted out in those days to supposed members of the 
sisterhood, because, notwithstanding the fact that some 
of them had confessed their guilt, they were acquitted 
as impostors. Whilst their neighbours, from Tendle, 
Demdike, ChafFox, &c, were condemned and hanged 
as genuine sorcerers, the Samlesbury witches were let 
off as counterfeits. The eerie reputation acquired by 
Samlesbury may have partially arisen in consequence 
of these alleged dealings in the black art by its weird 
daughters, but that the haunting of the old Hall arose 
from quite a different cause local tradition guarantees. 

Harland's Lancashire Legends traces the history of 


the famous old building back to the early part of the 
reign of Henry the Second, when Gospatric de Samles- 
bury was residing in an ancestral home occupying the 
site now covered by the present Hall. His dwelling 
was surrounded by rich pastures and was shut in by 
the prima? val forests of oak from which the massive 
timbers were obtained out of which was formed the 
framework of the structure still standing. This magni- 
ficent building was erected during the reign of Edward 
the Third. 

11 The family pedigrees tell us," says Harland, " that 
Cicely de Salmesbury married John de Ewyas about the 
middle of the thirteenth century ; but, dying without 
male heir, his daughter was united to Sir Gilbert de 
Southworth, and the property thus acquired remained 
in the possession of his family for upwards of three 
hundred and fifty years. It was then sold to the 
Braddylls, and ultimately passed into the hands of 
Joseph Harrison, Esq., of Galligreaves, Blackburn; 
whose eldest son, William Harrison, Esq., now resides 
at the Hall. 

" After the disposal of the property by John South- 
worth, Esq., in 1677, the house was suffered to fall into 
decay. For many years it was occupied by a number of 
cottagers ; it was afterwards converted into a farm- 
house, and passed through various stages of degradation 
from neglect. Mr. Harrison, however, determined that 
this fine old structure should be no longer thus dese- 
crated. With a wise and just appreciation he restored 
both the exterior and the interior of the house in 


accordance with their original design ; and under his 
hands the Old Hall atSamlesbury has become one of the 
most interesting and instructive mansions in the county. 

" Sir John Southworth was the most distinguished 
personage of his race. He was high in military com- 
mand during the early years of the reign of Elizabeth 
he mustered three hundred men at Berwick; and served 
the office of Sheriff of Lancashire in 1562. His posses- 
sions included Southworth, Samlesbury, Mellor, besides 
lands in eighteen other townships ; but he was illiterate, 
bigoted, and self-willed. His rigid devotion to the 
faith of his ancestors led him to speak rashly of the 
changes introduced into the national religion; he also 
acted unwisely in contravening the laws, for which he 
was ultimately cast into prison, and otherwise treated 
with much severity until his death in 1595. 

" Tradition states that during his later years one of 
his daughters had formed an acquaintance with the heir 
of a neighbouring knightly house. The attachment was 
mutual, and nothing was wanting to complete their 
happiness except the consent of the lady's father. Sir 
John was thereupon consulted ; but the tale of their 
devoted attachment only served to increase his rage, 
and he dismissed the supplicants with the most bitter 
denunciations. * No daughter of his should ever be 
united to the son of a family which had deserted its 
ancestral faith,' and he forbade the youth his presence 
for ever. Difficulty, however, only served to increase 
the ardour of the devoted lovers ; and after many secret 
interviews among the wooded slopes of the Kibble, an 


elopement was agreed upon, in the hope that time would 
bring her father's pardon. The day and place were un- 
fortunately overheard by one of the lady's brothers, who 
was hiding in a thicket close by, and he determined to 
prevent what he considered to be his sister's disgrace. 

" On the evening agreed upon both parties met at 
the hour appointed ; and as the young knight moved 
away with his betrothed, her brother rushed from his 
hiding-place, and slew both him and two friends by 
whom he was accompanied. The bodies were secretly 
buried within the precincts of the domestic chapel at 
the Hall; and Lady Dorothy was sent abroad to a 
convent where she was kept under strict surveillance. 
Her mind at last gave way the name of her murdered 
lover was ever on her lips, and she died a raving 
maniac. Some years ago three human skeletons were 
found near the walls of the Hall, and popular opinion 
has connected them with the tradition. The legend also 
states that on certain clear, still evenings, a lady in 
white can be seen passing along the gallery and the 
corridors, and then from the Hall into the grounds : 
that she then meets a handsome knight who receives 
her on his bended knees, and he then accompanies her 
along the walks. On arriving at a certain spot, most 
probably the lover's grave, both the phantoms stand 
still, and as they seem to utter soft wailings of despair, 
they embrace each other, and then their forms rise 
slowly from the earth and melt away into the clear blue 
of the surrounding sky." 




The well-known " Sampford Peverell Ghost" is one of 
those notorious cases of continuous haunting with 
which local history in England is rife. Again and 
again has it been asserted that the whole matter has 
been found out, the fraud has been discovered, the per- 
petrators have confessed, and so forth ; and yet, as in 
so many other cases, when these allegations have been 
investigated they have been found to be baseless, and 
the mystery remains as much a mystery as ever. As 
far as we have been enabled to learn, the Sampford 
Peverell Ghost has never been discovered to be the work 
of human agency. 

The Kev. Caleb C. Colton, the well-known and un- 
fortunate author of Lacon, decidedly gave a much 
wider notoriety, and more important character, to the 
manifestations about to be chronicled than they would 
otherwise have acquired, by the publication, iu 1810, of 
his Narrative of the Sampford Ghost. From this 
scarce pamphlet, supplemented by some particulars in 
a subsequent work by the same author, and a few 
additional data from other sources, the following account 
is compiled. 

The fact that so many of the circumstances connected 
with this curious case of supposed supernatural mani- 
festation were vouched for by the Vicar of Kew and 
Petersham, at the time a resident in Sampford, as having 
taken place under his own personal observation, natu- 


rally created considerable excitement, not only in the 
immediate neighbourhood, but, indeed, all over the 
country ; and the fact that the affair differed in many 
respects from the ordinary accounts of haunted houses, 
as, for instance, in the manifestations taking place in 
the day as well as in the night, and in physical results 
following blows received from invisible agents, made it 
all the more marvellous and sensational. 

The village of Sampford Peverell, where all these 
wonders came to pass, is about five miles from Tiver- 
ton, in the county of Devon ; and the events to be re- 
corded occurred in 1810 and the following years, in the 
house of a Mr. John Chave. According to the accounts 
published by the Kev. C. C. Colton, some very un- 
accountable things had occasionally happened in this 
said house previous to the manifestations he makes 
special record of. An apprentice boy had been greatly 
terrified by the apparition of a woman, and had de- 
clared that he had heard some extraordinary sounds in 
the night ; but little or no attention was paid to his 
statements. About April 1810, however, the inhabi- 
tants of the house were alarmed by terrific noises being 
heard in every apartment, even in the daytime. Upon 
anyone going up-stairs and stamping on the floor in 
any of the rooms, say five or six times, the sounds 
would be repeated instantly, but louder, and generally 
more in number, and the vibrations of the boards caused 
by these repeated sounds could be sensibly felt through 
the soles of one's boots, whilst dust was thrown up with 
such velocity, and in such quantity, as to affect the eyes. 



At mid-day the cause of these effects would announce 
its approach by loud knockings in some apartment or 
other of the house, above or below, as the case might be. 
At times more than a dozen persons have witnessed 
these mid-day knockings at once. The noises would 
very often, and in repeated instances, follow the persons 
through any of the upper apartments, and faithfully 
answer the stamping of their feet wherever they went. 
If persons were in different rooms, and one stamped 
with his foot in one room, the sound was instantly re- 
peated in the other. These phenomena continued day by 
day, almost incessantly, for about five weeks, when they 
gradually gave place to others still more curious and 

There were two apartments in the house in which the 
females who slept in them were dreadfully beaten by 
invisible agency. Mr. Colton stated that he himself 
heard more than two hundred blows given in the course 
of a night, and he could compare them to nothing but 
a strong man striking with all his force, with a closed 
fist, on the bed. These blows left great soreness, and 
visible marks. Mr. Colton saw a swelling, at least as 
big as a turkey's egg, on the cheek of Ann Mills, who 
voluntarily made oath that she was alone in the bed 
when she received the blows from an invisible hand. 
Mrs. Dennis, and Mary Woodbury, also, both swore 
voluntarily before Mr. Colton, Mr. Sully, an exciseman, 
and Mr. Govett, a surgeon, that they were so beaten as 
to experience a peculiar kind of numbness, and were 
sore for many days after. Their shrieks while being 


beaten were too terrible, it is averred, to have been 

Mr. Chave, the occupier of the house, deposed that 
one night the two servants were so much agitated that 
they refused to sleep any longer in their apartment, and 
he therefore permitted them, in the dead of the night, 
to bring their bed and bed-clothes into the room where 
he and Mrs. Chave slept. After the light had been put 
out, and they had been quiet about half an hour, a large 
iron candlestick began to move rapidly about the room. 
Mr. Chave could hear no footsteps, but while in the act 
of attempting to ring the bell the candlestick was 
violently thrown at his head, which it narrowly missed. 

Another night Mr. Searle, keeper of the county gaol, 
and a friend, kept watch, and they saw a sword, which 
they had placed near them on the foot of a bed, with a 
large folio Testament placed on it, thrown violently 
against the wall, seven feet away. Mr. Taylor deposed 
that, upon going into the room, in consequence of the 
shrieks of the women, he saw the sword, which had been 
previously lying on the floor, clearly suspended in the 
middle of the room with its point towards him. About 
a minute after it fell to the ground with a loud noise. 

Ann Mills deposed on oath that one night, while 
striking a light, she received a very severe blow on the 
back, and the tinder-box was forcibly wrenched out of 
her hands and thrown into the centre of the room. 

The Rev. C. C. Colton said that the names of the 
women who were thus afflicted were Mary Dennis senior, 
Mary Dennis junior, Martha Woodbury, Ann Mills, 


Mrs. Pitts, and Sally Case. He himself had witnessed 
most of the phenomena recorded above, whilst the women 
were in bed. Mr. Colton was sure thev never moved, 
and he administered an oath to them upon the subject 
next morning, in presence of several gentlemen, whose 
names he gave. He adds : " I have often heard the 
curtains of the bed violently agitated, accompanied with 
a loud and almost indescribable motion of the rings. 
These curtains, four in number, to prevent their motion, 
were often tied up, each in one large knot. Every cur- 
tain in that bed was agitated, and the knots thrown and 
whirled about with such rapidity that it would have 
been unpleasant to be within the sphere of their action. 
This lasted about two minutes, and concluded with a 
noise resembling the tearing of linen ; Mr. Taylor and 
Mr. Chave, of Mere, being also witnesses. Upon ex- 
amination, a rent was found across the grain of a strong 
new cotton curtain." 

Also Mr. Colton heard, in the presence of other wit- 
nesses, footsteps walking by him and round him. He 
was, also, conscious of candles burning near him, but 
could see nothing. Mr. Quick heard it come down-stairs 
like a man's foot in a slipper, and seem to pass through the 
wall. "I have been," he says, "in the act of opening 
a door which was already half open, when a violent 
rapping was produced on the opposite side of the same 
door; I paused a moment, and the rapping continued; 
I suddenly opened the door, with a candle in my hand, 
yet I can swear I could see nothing. I have been in 
one of the rooms that has a large modern window, when, 


from the noises, knockings, blows on the bed, and rat 
tling of the curtains, I did really begin to think th<3 
whole chamber was falling in. Mr. Taylor was sitting 
in the chair the whole time ; the females were so terrified 
that large drops stood on their foreheads. When the 
act of beating has appeared, from the sound of the 
blows, near the foot of one bed, I have rushed to the 
spot, but it has been instantly heard near the head of 
the other bed." 

Mr. Colton emphasised his own statement by a 
voluntary affidavit, which he made in the presence of 
Mr. B. Wood, Master-in-Chancery, Tiverton, in the 
course of which he declared that, after an attendance 
of six nights at Mr. Chave's house, during which time 
he had used every endeavour to discover the cause of 
these disturbances, and placed a seal with a crest to 
every door, cavity, &c, in the house through which any 
communication might be carried on, and having re- 
peatedly sworn the domestics as to the truth of the 
phenomena, and their own ignorance of the means 
whereby they were produced, he was still utterly unable 
to account for the things which he had seen and heard. 

Mr. Talley, the landlord of the house, whose interest 
it certainly was to rid his property of such visitations, 
when he brought it into the market for sale, pretended 
to have found out the whole mystery, and alleged that 
the noises were produced by a cooper with a broomstick 
and a bludgeon. This pretended exposure was not 
however, acknowledged by any of the parties who had 
made the previous statements. Nevertheless, it served 


to draw down the vengeance of the populace of Tiverton 
on Mr. Chave, and he narrowly escaped with his life. 

Two years afterwards, however, Mr. Colton published 
the following remarks upon the subject, in notes to 
Hypocrisy, a Satire : " An affair is still going on in 
this neighbourhood, and known to the public by the 
title of the Sampford Ghost, which might puzzle the 
materialism of Hume, or the immaterialism of Berkeley. 
Here we have an invisible and incomprehensible agent 
produciug visible and sensible effects. The real truth 
is that the slightest shadow of an explanation has not 
yet been given, and that there exist no good grounds 
even for suspecting anyone. The public were given to 
understand that the disturbances had ceased, whereas 
it is well known to all in this neighbourhood that they 
continue, with unabating influence, to this hour. We 
were told, by way of explanation, that the whole affair 
was a trick of the tenant, who wished to purchase the 
house cheap the stale solution of all haunted houses. 
"But such an idea never entered his thoughts, even if 
the present proprietors were able to sell the house; 
but it happens to be entailed. And at the very time 
when this was said, all the neighbourhood knew that 
Mr. Chave was unremitting in his exertions to procure 
another habitation in Sampford on any terms. And, to 
confirm this, these disturbances have at length obliged 
the whole family to make up their minds to quit the 
premises, at a very great loss and inconvenience. If these 
nocturnal and diurnal visitations are the effects of a 
plot, the agents are marvellously secret and indefatig- 


able. It has been going on more than three years; and 
if it be the result of human machination, there must 
be more than sixty persons concerned in it. Now I 
cannot but think it rather strange, that a secret by 
which no one can possibly get anything, should be so 
well kept ; particularly when I inform the public, what the 
newspapers would not, or could not, acquaint them with; 
namely, that a reward of two hundred and fifty pounds 
has been offered for anyone who can give such infor- 
mation as may lead to a discovery. Nearly two years 
have elapsed, and no claimant has appeared. I myself, 
who have been abused as the dupe at onetime, and the 
promoter of this affair at another, was the first to come 
forward with one hundred pounds, and the late mayor 
of Tiverton has now an instrument in his hands em- 
powering him to call on me for the payment of that 
sum to anyone who can explain the cause of the 

When the manifestations ceased, if they even have 
now, we cannot learn ; but it certainly would appear 
to be the case that no sure and unqualified exposure of 
the affair has ever yet been given. 


Skipsea, an out of the way Yorkshire village, on the 
sea-coast between Bridlington and Hornsea, is cele- 


brated for one of the most enduring apparitions on 
record. " The White Lady of Skipsea," as this phan- 
tom is styled, has haunted the old castle, of which, 
now-a-days, little more than the foundations remain, 
ever since the days of William the Conqueror. This 
Skipsea ghost, whose local habitation no native of the 
place would venture near after nightfall, is described as 
haunting the Castle mound, and its vicinity, in the form 
of a beautiful young woman, of mournful aspect, at- 
tired in long white drapery. Occasionally she may be 
seen flitting about the intrenchments or slopes of the 
Castle mound, and at times, even in the daylight, she is 
seen wandering about the precincts of what was formerly 
her home. No ill effects are reported to follow the 
appearance of this apparition, whose story is detailed by 
Mr. F. Ross in his interesting " Yorkshire Legends and 
Traditions,' - ' now appearing in the Leeds Mercury, in 
these words : 

" The White Lady was the wife of Drogo de Bevere, a 
Flemish soldier of fortune, who took up arms under the 
banner of the Norman Duke William, in the army he 
assembled together for the conquest of England. He was 
a good and valiant soldier, and fought with great bravery 
at the battle of Hastings, for which he was rewarded by 
Duke William, when he had subdued Northumbria, with 
a grant of the district of Holderness, which he constituted 
a Seigniory, and made Drogo the first Lord, who went to 
reside there, and erected a castle at Skipsea, as a defence 
against the Danes, who were wont to land at Flam- 
borough, and to serve as his caput baronium, where he 


exercised a semi-regal rule over the district. Although 
a brave warrior, he was tyrannical and oppressive to the 
Angles and Banes of Holderness, whose lands had been 
reft from them in his behoof, and whom he reduced to 
complete serfdom. He was subject to ungovernable 
bursts of passion, and, when in this mood, would per- 
petrate the grossest acts of cruelty and injustice. He 
was also exceedingly covetous and avaricious, as was 
evidenced by his seizure, by forcible means, of the lands 
in Holderness belonging to St. John's Church, at 
Beverley, which had been specially confirmed to the 
Canons, by King William; but these he was compelled 
to disgorge. 

M As a further proof of his favour the Conqueror gave 
him one of his nieces in marriage, whose identity has not 
been clearly ascertained, but who, possibly, from the 
obscurity in which she is enveloped, may have been a 
grand- daughter of William's mother, Herteva, by her 
second marriage. However this may be, they were 
married, and he carried her down to his Yorkshire 
domain, where they resided together in Skipsea Castle. 
The marriage does not appear to have been a happy one; 
their tempers were incompatible. He was brutal in his 
tastes and manners, delighting only in war, the chase, 
and tyrannising over his menials and tenants ; she, 
gentle and refined, as were the Norman ladies of the 
period. He always treated her with churlishness, often 
with savage barbarity, frequently threatened her with 
death, and, at length, in a fit of fierce passion, caused 
her to be poisoned. 


rt The deed was no sooner perpetrated than Drogo per- 
ceived his folly, feeling assured that her uncle would 
take vengeance upon him for it, and that the result would 
be a confiscation of the Seigniory, and his execution as a 
murderer. His craft and subtlety, however, served him 
well in this crisis. His victim was scarcely cold when he 
mounted the fleetest horse in his stable and rode south- 
wards, bating neither whip nor spur until he reached the 
Court of the King. He represented to the latter that he 
was very desirous of taking his wife across sea to 
Flanders, to show her the land of his birth, and intro- 
duce her to his family. The King applauded the idea, 
nnd granted his permission for them to leave England, 
upon which Drogo represented that the domain which 
had been given him was of so poor a nature that it 
would grow nothing but oats, and that a great portion 
of it consisted but of woodland and morass, so that he 
was utterly destitute of the means of taking shipping to 
cross the sea. ' If that be all,' said the King, ' you 
shall not be baulked of your pleasure trip, for want of 
money,' and he gave him an order on his exchequer for 
a sum sufficient for the purpose. As soon as he got 
the money he took leave of the King, hastened to the 
sea-side, and set sail for Flanders. He had not been 
long gone, when a messenger arrived from Skipsea, who 
informed the King of the death of his niece and the 
manner of it. Upon receipt of this intelligence the 
King sent a body of horsemen after the murderer, with 
instructions to bring him back, alive or dead. But 
Drogo had got too much start, and eluded the pursuit, 


arriving in due course in Flanders, but what was bis 
after fate records tell not. 

"We have no account of the place of burial of the 
unfortunate lady. There was no church at Skipsea at 
the time of the Domesday survey, but we find that 
Stephen, Earle of Albemarle, Lord of the Seigniory in 
the time of Rufus, gave his church of the Castle of 
Skipsea to the Monastery of Albemarle, and it is pro- 
bable that within its walls her body was deposited. 
Her spirit, however, seems not to have found a resting- 
place, but for the past eight hundred years has been 
wandering about the scene of her unhappy wifehood. 
The phantom has not appeared in recent years, but in 
the Hid! Advertiser, early in the present century, we 
have an account of the apparition having been seen. 
The editor prefaces the account by saying 'In in- 
troducing the following singular article, it may be 
necessary to state that the writer as well as the two 
persons upon whose testimony the circumstances rest, 
are well known to us, and above all suspicion of having 
thus related anything save what they believed to be 
strictly correct.' 

" The writer states that he was visiting a lady in 
Holderness, when the conversation of the party then 
assembled turned upon supernatural appearances, the 
lady expressing the opinion that they ' were owing to 
some misapprehension of the senses,' upon which a 
gentleman of the party, of unimpeachable character, said 
that he was under the necessity of differing from the 
lady. ' For/ said he, ' about ten years ago I was 


travelling on horseback one afternoon from Bridlington 
to Hornsea, and just as I was descending the brow of a 
hill, on the south of Skipsea, I observed a woman, 
apparently young, dressed in white, walking a little 
before me on my left hand, between the hedge and the 
road. Supposing that she had been visiting at a house 
on the top of the hill, I turned my head to see if there 
were any persons in attendance at the door, but the door 
was shut and none to be seen. My curiosity being now 
greater than before to know who this genteel person 
was, I followed her at the distance of twenty or thirty 
yards down the hill, which was 100 or 150 yards long, 
and expected when she got to the bottom, where there 
was a small brook, that I should meet her in attempting 
to gain the carriage bridge, but to my great astonish- 
ment, when she approached the brook, instead of turning 
to the right to gain the bridge, she vanished from my 
sight, at the very time that my eyes were fixed upon 
her. As soon as I got home, I related the strange 
affair to my family ; and as it was light, and I had not 
previously been thinking about apparitions, nor was I 
ever in the habit of speculating on such subjects, I am 
firmly persuaded that what I saw was one.* 

" The lady of the house said that the recital had 
made ' a greater impression on her than anything she 
had ever heard before.' ' For,' continued she, ' about 
five years ago I had a servant, who was a young man of 
good character and of a bold, active disposition, one 
who professed a disregard for any extraordinary appear- 
ances. In the month of November, about Martinmas 


time, he requested leave to go to Bridlington and also 
to be accommodated with a horse, which was granted 
him. Being very desirous to make a long holiday of it, 
he rose early in the morning and set off two hours 
before daybreak ; but, to our very great surprise, 
returned home early in the afternoon, before it was 
dark. On being questioned if anything was the matter 
with him, he rep-lied that he had been so much alarmed 
that he was resolved never to travel alone in the dark if 
he could avoid it. ' For, as I was cantering along 
Skipsea-lane in the morning, bending forward with my 
face downwards, the horse suddenly bolted from the 
road to such a distance that I was very nearly dis- 
mounted. On recovering myself and looking about to 
discover what had frightened my horse, I saw a fine 
lady, dressed in white, with something like a black veil 
over her head, standing close by. How I got to 
Skipsea I cannot tell, but I was so frightened that I 
durst go no farther, but walked up and down the hill 
till it was light, when I found some persons going the 
same road, whom I accompanied to Bridlington.' " 


Smithills Hall, Halliwell, Lancashire, the seat of 
Richard Henry Ainsworth, Esq., is one of those lovely 
and picturesque ancestral abodes for which England is 


famous. It is replete with the subdued charms which 
only antiquity can generate, and which no amount of 
expenditure, however lavish, can create. The origin of 
this splendid old mansion is lost in the proverbial 
" mist of ages " ; historians retrace its story to the time 
of the so-called Saxon ''Heptarchy," and, as if in con- 
firmation of this remote ancestry, an ancient gateway 
bears the date of 680. Less mythical records of the 
place and its various owners are carried back to the 
early part of the fourteenth century, when the Lord of 
the Manor of Smithills was a William Radcliffe. 
Subsequently, an heiress by marriage carried this 
manor and the estates into the Barton family, and from 
that family it passed by purchase, in 1801, into the 
possession of the Ainsworths, by whom it is still held. 

In a description of this ancient mansion, recently 
given in the Bolton Journal, it is said : " Smithills 
Hall requires to be sought for. It lies far from the 
road, which curves in its course, thus effectually hiding 
it from the public gaze. . . . When reached, the full 
beauty of the building is not at once seen. But passing 
through an arched gateway the south front is dis- 
closed to view. Emerging by the gateway with the 
'680' inscribed above it, the visitor finds himself in 
the antique court-yard, at the head of a beautiful lawn, 
reached by a flight of steps. Turning from the view 
before us to admire the architecture and appearance of 
the old building, one is impressed with the air of calm 
repose which seems to rest over all. The old Lancashire 
lath-and-plaster style of building is everywhere apparent. 


Black beams placed obliquely on a ground of dazzling 
whiteness, with ornamentations of quatrefoil standing 
out in charming relief, present a pleasing picture of the 
taste of our ancestors in matters architectural. The ivy 
clusters lovingly over porch and walls, the effect on the 
' 680 ' gateway being especially lovely. The old- 
fashioned domestic chapel forms a wing to the east of 
the block, and around this, too, clusters the loving 
parasite, the healthy hue of green blending charmingly 
with the stained windows, rich in design, and com- 
memorative of the heraldry of past and present of 

The writer then proceeds to speak of the interior 
of this fine old place, of its rich wainscottings, its 
oaken mouldings, and of its other relics of the past, but 
then recurs, as must all who mention Smithills Hall, 
to the mysterious footprint, to the far-famed Bloody 
Footstep seen on the stone in the passage leading to 
the chapel. Above this indelible footstep is a plate 
bearing the inscription, "Footprint of the Keverend 
George Marsh, of Deane, martyr, who was examined at 
Smithills, and burnt at Chester, in the reign of Queen 

The legend connected with this marvellous relic of 
the past is thus given in the local journal: Robert 
Barton, at one time owner of Smithills, was " the 
famous magistrate before whom George Marsh, the 
Martyr of Deane, appeared in 1555, to answer for his 
Protestant faith. Tradition described Mr. Barton as a 
zealous bigot, and alleges rude treatment on his part 



towards the martyr. It was after the examination 
before this worthy that, it is stated, Marsh, descending 
the stairs leading from the court-room, stamped his foot 
on the stones, and ' looking up to heaven, appealed to 
God for the justness of his cause ; and prayed that 
there might in that place remain a constant memorial 
of the wickedness and injustice of his enemies,' the 
print of a man's foot remaining to the present day as 
such ' constant memorial/ " 

A tradition in the place, a resident of Smithills Hall 
informs us, says the stone bearing the imprint of the 
mysterious footprint was once removed and cast into a 
neighbouring wood, but ghostly noises became so 
troublesome in consequence that the stone had to be 
restored to its original position. 

Nathaniel Hawthorne, the famous American novelist, 
at one time enjoyed the hospitality of Smithills Hall. 
The legend of the " Bloody Footstep " made an intense 
and lasting impression upon his mind, and in three 
separate instances he founded fictions upon it. He saw 
the " Bloody Footstep/' as he says himself, with his 
own eyes, and from the lips of his hostess heard the 
particulars of its origin. Either from what he heard, 
or imagined, about this weird symbol of a bygone 
crime, he gave in his romance of Septimius the following 
story as that of the Bloody Footstep : 

" On the threshold of one of the doors of Smithills 
Hall there is a bloody footstep impressed into the door- 
step, and ruddy as if the bloody foot had just trodden 
there ; an f l it is averred that, on a certain night of the 


year, and at a certain hour of the night, if you go and 
look at the door-step you will see the mark wet with 
fresh hlood. Some have pretended to say that this 
appearance of blood was hut dew; but can dew redden 
a cambric handkerchief? Will it crimson the finger- 
tips when you touch it ? And that is what the bloody 
footstep will surely do when the appointed night and 
hour come round. . . . 

" It is needless to tell you all the strange stories that 
have survived to this day about the old Hall, and how 
it is believed that the master of it, owing to his ancient 
science, has still a sort of residence there and control of 
the place, and how in one of the chambers there is 
still his antique table, and his chair, and some rude old 
instruments and machinery, and a book, and everything 
in readiness, just as if he might still come back to finish 
some experiment. . . . One of the chief things to 
which the old lord applied himself was to discover the 
means of prolonging his own life, so that its duration 
should be indefinite, if not infinite; and such was his 
science that he was believed to have attained this 
magnificent and awful purpose. . . . 

" The object of the lord of Smithills Hall was to 
take a life from the course of Nature, and Nature did 
not choose to be defrauded ; so that, great as was the 
power of this scientific man over her, she would not 
consent that he should escape the necessity of dying at 
i his proper time, except upon condition of sacrificing 
some other life for his ; and this was to be done once 
for every thirty years that he chose to live, thirty years 



being the account of a generation of man ; and if in 
any way, in that time, this lord could be the death of 
a human being, that satisfied the requisition, and he 
might live on. . . . 

" There was but one human being whom he cared 
for that was a beautiful kinswoman, an orphan, whom 
his father had brought up, and dying, left to his care. 
. . He saw that she, if anyone, was to be the person 
whom the sacrifice demanded, and that he might kill 
twenty others without effect, but if he took the life of 
this one it would make the charm strong and good. . . . 
He did slay this pure young girl ; he took her into the 
wood near the house, an old wood that is standing yet, 
with some of its magnificent oaks, and there he plunged 
a dagger into her heart. . . . 

" He buried her in the wood, and returned to the 
house ; and, as it happened, he had set his right foot in 
her blood, and his shoe was wet in it, and by some 
miraculous fate it left a track all along the wood-path, 
and into the house, and on the stone steps of the 
threshold, and up into his chamber. The servants saw 
it the next day, and wondered, and whispered, and 
missed the fair young girl, and looked askance at their 
lord's right foot, and turned pale, all of them. . . . 

" Next, the legend says, that Sir Forrester was struck 
with horror at what he had done . . . and fled from 
his old Hall, and was gone full many a day. But all 
the while he was gone there was the mark of a bloody 
footstep impressed upon the stone door-step of the Hall. 
. . . The legend says that wherever Sir Forrester went, 


in his wanderings about the world, he left a bloody 
track behind him. . . . Once he went to the King's 
Court, and, there being a track up to the very throne, 
the King frowned upon him, so that he never came there 
any more. Nobody could tell how it happened; his 
foot was not seen to bleed, only there was the bloody 
track behind him. . . . 

"At last this unfortunate lord deemed it best to go 
back to his own Hall, where, living among faithful old 
servants born in the family, he could hush the matter 
up better than elsewhere. ... So home he came, and 
there he saw the bloody track on the door-step, and 
dolefully went into the Hall, and up the stairs, an old 
servant ushering him into his chamber, and half a dozen 
others following behind, gazing, shuddering, pointing 
with quivering fingers, looking horror-stricken in one 
another's pale faces. . . . 

u By-and-by he vanished from the old Hall, but 
not by death ; for, from generation to generation, they 
say that a bloody track is seen around that house, 
and sometimes it is traced up into the chambers, so 
fresh that you see he must have passed a short time 

" And this is the legend," says Hawthorne, " of the 
Bloody Footstep, which I myself have seen at the Hall 

It will be seen, however, how widely different is the 
story told by the great American romancist from that 
given by the owner of Smithills Hall, and believed in 
by the tenants around. Whether the author of Septi- 


mius really had any traditional authority for his version, 
or whether he evolved the whole recital from the depth 
of his imagination, it would he difficult to say. 


Harriet Martineau, in her description of The English 
Lakes, writes : " The ascent of Saddleback mav beenn 
behind Threlkeld, up a path which the villagers will 
point out; but an easier way is to diverge from the 
main road some way farther on, by the road to Hesket, 
near the village of Scales. The hill-side path is to be 
taken which leads along Souter Fell, by the side of the 
stream which descends from Scales Tarn. 

" This part is the very home of superstition and 
romance. This Souter or Soutra Fell is the mountain 
on which ghosts appeared in myriads, at intervals dur- 
ing ten years of the last century ; presenting the same 
appearances to twenty-six chosen witnesses, and to all 
the inhabitants of all the cottages within view of the 
mountain, and for a space of two hours and a half at 
one time the spectral show being closed by darkness ! 
The mountain, be it remembered, is full of precipices, 
which defy all marching of bodies of men ; and the 
north and west sides present a sheer perpendicular of 
900 feet. 

" On Midsummer-eve, 1735, a farm servant of Mr. 


Lancaster, half a mile from the mountain, saw the 
eastern side of its summit covered with troops, which 
pursued their onward march for an hour. They came, 
in distinct bodies, from an eminence on the north end, 
and disappeared in a niche in the summit. When the 
poor fellow told his tale, he was insulted on all hands; 
as original observers usually are when they see anything 
wonderful. Two years after, also on a Midsummer- eve, 
Mr. Lancaster saw some men there, apparently following 
their horses, as if they had returned from hunting. He 
thought nothing of this ; but he happened to look up 
again ten minutes after, and taw the figures, now 
mounted, and followed by an interminable array of 
troops, five abreast, marching from the eminence and 
over the cleft as before. All the family saw this, and 
the manoeuvres of the force, as each company was kept 
in order by a mounted officer, who galloped this way 
and that. As the shades of twilight came on, the disci- 
pline appeared to relax, and the troops intermingled, 
and rode at unequal paces, till all was lost in darkness. 
Now, of course all the Lancasters were insulted, as their 
servant had been; but their justification was not long 

" On the Midsummer-eve of the fearful 1745, twenty- 
six persons, expressly summoned by the family, saw all 
that had been seen before, and more. Carriages were 
now interspersed with the troops ; and everybody knew 
that no carriages had been, or could be, on the summit 
of Souter Fell. The multitude was beyond imagination ; 
for the troops filled a space of half a mile, and marched 


quickly till night hid them still marching. There was 
nothing vaporous or indistinct about the appearance of 
these spectres. So real did they seem, that some of the 
people went up, the next morning, to look for the hoof- 
marks of the horses; and awful it was to them to 
find not one foot-print on heather or grass. The 
witnesses attested the whole story on oath before a 
magistrate; and fearful were the expectations held by 
the whole country-side about the coming events of the 
Scotch rebellion. 

"It now came out that two other persons had seen 
something of the sort in the interval viz. in 1743 but 
had concealed it, to escape the insults to which their 
neighbours were subjected. Mr. Wren, of Wilton Hall, 
and his farm-servant, saw, one summer evening, a man 
and a dog on the mountain, pursuing some horses 
along a place so steep that a horse could hardly by any 
possibility keep a footing on it. Their speed was pro- 
digious, and their disappearance at the south end of the 
fell so rapid, that Mr. Wren and the servant went up, 
the next morning, to find the body of the man who 
must have been killed. Of man, horse, or dog, they 
found not a trace ; and they came down and held their 
tongues. When they did speak, they fared not much 
the better for having twenty- six sworn comrades in their 

" As for the explanation, the editor of the Lonsdale 
Magazine declared (vol. ii., p. 313) that it was dis- 
covered that on the Midsummer-eve of 1745 the rebels 
were 'exercising on the western coast of Scotland, 


whose movements had been reflected by some trans- 
parent vapour, similar to the Fata Morgana.' This is 
not much in the "way of explanation ; but it is, as far as 
we know, all that can be had at present. These facts, 
however, brought out a good many more; as the spec- 
tral march of the same kind seen in Leicestershire in 
1707; and the tradition of the tramp of armies over 
Helvellyn, on the eve of the battle of Marston Moor." 

We have allowed Harriet Martineau to tell her tale in 
her own words, without comment; but on reference to 
our chapter on "Edge Hill," in the First Series of this 
work, something pertinent to the theme will be found. 


In the picturesque valley of the Washburn, high up on 
the right bank, in the parish of Otley, stands Swinsty 
Hall. It is a large building, in a kind of Elizabethan 
architecture, says Mr. William Grainge, and " on its 
first creation would, doubtless, be considered a great, 
grand, and glorious mansion, with its many gables and 
multitudinous windows. The greatest wonder is to see 
it here at all, in such a lonely place. It has been built 
in a substantial manner, and at a heavy cost. The 
round plan is that of an irregular quadrangle, with a 
projecting wing on the north-west. The south front is 
the most interesting portion, three stories in height ; 


the central rooms, the fronts of which project some 
distance from the main line on the first and second 
floors, are each lighted by a window of twenty lights, 
divided by a transom, which gives forty openings in 
all ; indeed, that side has much the appearance of an 
enormous lanthorn." 

" Swinsty Hall/' continues Mr. Grainge, " has fallen 
somewhat from its high estate in modern times, stripped 
of its antique furniture, and now {i.e. 1864) occupied 
by the families of four farmers (a giant or enchanter, 
with a rambling ghost or two, would be a much more 
appropriate tenantry), the barns and outhouses clus- 
tered around give it quite a singular and unique 
appearance : 

" A kind of old hobgoblin ball, 

Now somewhat fallen to decay, 
With weather-stains upon the wall, 

And stairways worn, and crazy doors, 

And creaking and uneven floors, 
And chimneys huge and tall. 

" A region of repose it seems, 
A place of slumber and of dreams, 
Remote among the wooded hills, 
For there no noisy railway speeds, 
In torch-race, scattering smoke and gleeda ; 
But, noon and night, the parting teams 
Stop under the great oaks, that throw 
Tangles of light and shade below, 

On roofs, and doors, and window-sills. . 


Singular to relate," continues Mr. Grainge, " there 
is no road to this house deserving of the name, the 
principal carriage-road beiag a mere random trackway 
across the unenclosed common, so tkafc it may be said 


to be isolated from the world, or, rather, to form a little 
old-fashioned world of its own." 

There is, as might be guessed, a strange weird legend 
connected with this old out-of-the-way dwelling, and 
it is generally told, says Mr. Grainge, in the following 


" The builder of the Hall was a man of the name of 
Robinson, who, in his youth, was a poor weaver, and 
resided in a humble cottage near where the Hall now 
stands. This cottage, now doing duty as a cow-house, 
yet remains to vouch for the truth of the story. This 
young man left his humble home, travelled to London 
at a time when the plague was raging in that city ; 
when death had left many houses totally uninhabited 
and desolate, wherein no survivors were left to bury the 
dead, and no heirs to claim their wealth. Our north 
country adventurer seeing this state of things, not for- 
getting himself amid the general mourning and con- 
fusion, took possession of the gold thus left without an 
owner, to such an extent, that he loaded a waggon and 
team of horses with the wealth thus acquired ; with 
which he returned homeward, and, in due time, again 
reached the place of his birth. But the story of the 
plague had reached the place as soon as himself and his 
gold, and none of his former neighbours would admit 
him into their dwellings, for fear of contagion ; so he 
took up his abode in a barn, which still remains. In 
order to cleanse his gold from any infectious taint 
which might possibly cling to it, Robinson washed the 
whole carefully in the Greenwell Spring, which well yet 



remains, bearing the same name. With the wealth thus 
acquired he purchased the estate and built the Hall at 

For a considerable period, many generations of 
.Robinsons enjoyed the property, until, at last, it passed 
by marriage to the Bramleys, who still enjoy it, or did 
quite recently. 

But, according to popular faith, the founder of the 
family, the original possessor of the Hall, cannot cleanse 
himself, so readily as he did his gold, from its con- 
tamination : his troubled spirit still haunts the old 
spot. At certain times, those who are gifted with the 
faculty of seeing apparitions, may behold that of 
Robinson bending over the Greenwell Spring, and 
striving to cleanse his strangely acquired coin coin 
even more spectral than himself. There he bends, 
and rubs, and rubs, and rubs away at his ghastly 
spoil, and never seems satisfied that it is freed from 
its taint, or, perhaps, from its stains : who knows ? 


" In a secluded dell, on the banks of Mellor Brook/' 
says Mr. T. T. Wilkinson, " not far from the famous 
old Hall of Samlesbury, near Blackburn " (a haunted 
old Hall whereof an account will be found in these 
pages), " stands a lonely farm-house, which was occu- 


pied for many generations by a family named Sykes. 
They gave their name to the homestead, or vice versa, 
on its being cleared from the forest ; and, from the fact 
of the pastures lying at a short distance from a broad 
and deep portion of the brook, it became generally 
known by the name of Sykes Lumb Farm." 

This Sykes family, however, as Mr. Wilkinson re- 
cords, have long since passed to dust, and many gene- 
rations of strangers have dwelt on their lands, but the 
doings of one particular member of the race have been 
handed down, from year to year, by tradition, and still 
exercise a potent influence upon the minds of the sur- 
rounding population. Before referring to the especial 
tradition for which Sykes Lumb Farm is noted, it may 
be as well to point out that it possesses an uncanny 
reputation for a supernatural inhabitant other than the 
apparition from which its fame is chiefly derived. In 
one work by Mr. Wilkinson it is referred to as the resi- 
dence of a noted boggart, or domestic familiar, in these 
terms : 

" When in a good humour, this noted goblin will 
milk the cows, pull the hay, fodder the cattle, harness 
the horses, load the carts, and stack the crops. When 
irritated by the utterance of some unguarded expression 
or marked disrespect, either from the farmer or his 
servants, the cream-mugs are then smashed to atoms, 
no butter can be obtained by churning, the horses and 
other cattle are turned loose, or driven into the woods, 
two cows will sometimes be found fastened in the same 
stall, no hay can be pulled from the mow ; and all the 


while the wicked imp sits grinning with delight upon 
one of the cross-beams in the barn. At other times the 
horses are unable to draw the empty carts across the 
farm-yard ; if loaded, they are upset, whilst the cattle 
tremble with fear without any visible cause. IS or do the 
inmates of the house experience any better or gentler 
usage. During the night the clothes are said to be 
violently torn from off the beds of the offending parties, 
whilst, by invisible hands, they themselves are dragged 
down the stone stairs by the legs, one step at a time, 
after a most uncomfortable manner." 

The way in which this boggart is described as 
haunting Sykes Lumb Farm is in no way out of the 
common, especially in Lancashire and the neighbouring 
counties, but it is of interest in this case, as showing 
the popular belief that the place is troubled in some 
way. In what way the house and grounds are really 
believed to be, or, until recently, to have been, haunted 
is thus described in Eoby and Wilkinson's "Lancashire 
Legends, and William Dobson's Rambles by the Ribble. 

In the days when the farm was owned by old Sykes 
and his wife, careful living and more than ordinary 
thrift enabled the old couple to gather together a fair 
amount of wealth, which, added to the continual hoard- 
ing of the farmer's ancestors, caused the pair to be re- 
garded as wonderfully rich, in those days. Whatever 
the facts as to their wealth may have been, they saw its 
possession ultimately jeopardized by civil troubles and 
national famine. It was their chief, if not their only 
object of affection, as they had neither son nor daughter, 


nor any other object upon which to expend their love ; 
therefore, the risk of losing it gave them more than 
ordinary anxiety. Old Sykes does not appear to have 
clung to their darling hoard with half the affection dis- 
played by his worthy consort ; her dread of losing it 
was intense. Besides, says our chief authority, she had 
no " notion of becoming dependeDt upon the bounty of 
the Southworths of the Hall, nor did she relish the idea 
oi soliciting charity at the gates of the lordly Abbot of 
"Whalley. The treasure was therefore carefully secured 
in earthenware jars, and was then buried deep beneath 
the roots of an apple-tree in the orchard. Years passed 
away, and the troubles of the country did not cease. 
The Yorkists at length lost the ascendancy, and the 
reins of government passed into the hands of the Lan- 
castrians ; until at last the northern feud was healed 
by the mingling of the White Rose with the Red. 
Henry VII. sat upon the throne with Elizabeth of York 
as Queen ; but, ere peace thus blessed the land, old 
Sykes had paid the debt of nature, and left his widow 
the sole possessor of their buried wealth. She, too, 
soon passed away ; and, as the legend asserts, so sud- 
denly that she had no opportunity to disclose the place 
where she had deposited her treasure. Rumour had 
not failed to give her the credit of being possessed of 
considerable wealth ; but, although her relatives made 
diligent search, they were unsuccessful in discovering 
the place of the hidden jars. 

" The farm passed into other hands, and old Sykes' s 
wife might have been forgotten had not her ghost, un- 


able to find rest, continued occasionally to visit the old 
farm-house. Many a time, in the dusk of the evening, 
have the neighbouring peasants met an old wrinkled 
woman, dressed in ancient garb, passing along the 
gloomy road which leads across the Lumb, but fear 
always prevented them from speaking. She never lifted 
her head, hut helped herself noiselessly along by means 
of a crooked stick, which bore no resemblance to those 
then in use. At times she was seen in the old barn, on 
other occasions in the house, but more frequently in 
the orchard, standing by an apple-tree which still flou- 
rished over the place where the buried treasure was 
afterwards said to have been found. Generations passed 
away, and still her visits continued. One informant 
minutely described her withered visage, her short 
quaintly-cut gown, her striped petticoat, and her stick. 
He was so much alarmed that he ran away from the 
place, notwithstanding that he had engaged to perform 
some urgent work. * She was not there/ he gravely 
said, ' when I went to pluck an apple, but no sooner did 
I raise my hand towards the fruit, than she made her 
appearance just before me/ At last, it is said, an 
occupier of the farm, when somewhat elated by liquor, 
ventured to question her as to the reasons of her visits. 
She returned no answer, but, after moving slowly to- 
wards the stump of an old apple-tree, she pointed signi- 
ficantly towards a portion of the orchard which had 
never been disturbed. On search being made, the 
treasure was found deep down in the earth, and as the 
soil was being removed, the venerable-looking shade was 


seen standing on the edge of the trench. When the 
iastjarwas lifted out, an unearthly smile passed over 
her withered features ; her bodily form became less and 
less distinct, until at last it disappeared altogether. 

" Since then the old farm-house has ceased to be 
haunted. Old Sykes's wife is believed to have found 
eternal rest; but there are yet many, both old and 
young, who walk with quickened pace past the Lurnb 
whenever they are belated, fearful lest they should be 
once more confronted with the dreaded form of its 
unearthly visitor." 


Tunstead Farm-house is about a mile and a half from 
Chapel-en-le-Frith, in Derbyshire, and is only distin- 
guished from numberless other English farm-houses by 
the fact that it is the possessor of a most eccentric 
skull. John Hutchinson, in his Tour through the High 
Peak, published in 1809, remarks that this skull, al- 
though popularly known by the not very reverent male 
cognomen of " Dickie," has " always been said to be 
that of a female. Why it should have been baptized 
with a name belonging to the male sex seems/' as 
Hutchinson says, " somewhat anomalous ; still, not 
more wonderful than a many, if not all, of its very 
singular pranks and services. To enumerate all the 



particulars of the incalculably serviceable acts and deeds 
done by ' Dickie,' would form a wonder; but not a 
wonder past belief, for hundreds of the inhabitants of 
the locality for miles around have full and firm faith in 
its mystical performances. How long it has been 
located at the present house is not known ; of whose 
body in the flesh it was a member is equally as mys- 
terious, save that it is said (but what has not been said 
about it that is not pure fiction \) that one of two co- 
heiresses residing here was murdered, and who declared, 
in her dying moments, that her bones should remain 
in the place for ever. Tt is further said that the 
skull did not, some years u&,ek, appear the least 

Hutchinson's account is supplemented by Mr. William 
Andrews, in his Historic Romance, with these re. 
marks : " It is believed that if the skull be removed 
everything on the farm will go wrong the cows will be 
dry and barren, the sheep have the rot, and the horses 
fall down, breaking their knees and otherwise injuring 
themselves. The most amusing part of the superstition 
connected with * Dickie ' is the following : When the 
London and North-Western Kailway to Manchester was 
being made, the foundations of a bridge gave way in 
the yielding sand and bog on the side of the reservoir, 
and, after several attempts to build the bridge had 
failed, it was found necessary to divert the highway, and 
pass it under the railway on higher ground. These 
engineering failures were attributed to the malevolent 
influence of ' Dickie,' . . . but when the road was 


diverted, it was bridged successfully, because no longer 
on ' Dickie's ' territory.'' 

The influence thus exercised by the Tunstead skuil 
against the construction of so unghostly a work as a 
railroad, inspired Samuel Laycock, the Lancashire bard, 
to publish, in a local paper, a poetic Address to 


In a volume styled News from the Invisible World, the 
following story is related, as given from an account 
drawn up by the lady herself, " who was most literally 
exact and faithful to the truth." Miss Elizabeth Smith, 
the lady referred to, was the daughter of Colonel Smith, 
of Piercefield, on the river Wye, and the marvellous 
incident is said to have happened to her during her 
residence at Ullswater, in the winter of 1800. The 
version of the story given in the above volume is as 
follows : 

There is, on the western side of Ullswater, a fine 
cataract (or, in the language of the country, a force) , 
known by the name of " Aira Force," and it is of im- 
portance enough, especially in rainy seasons, to attract 
numerous visitors from among the " Lakers." Thither 
with some purpose of sketching, not the whole scene, 
but some picturesque feature of it, Miss Smith was 




gone, quite unaccompanied. The road to it lies 
through Gobarrow Park; and it was usual, at that 
time, to take a guide from the family of the Duke of 
Norfolk's keeper, who lived in Lyulph's Tower, a 
solitary hunting-lodge, built by His Grace for the pur- 
pose of an annual visit which he used to pay to his 
estates in that part of England. She, however, think- 
ing herself sufficiently familiar with the localities, had 
declined to encumber her movements with such an 
attendant ; consequently, she was alone. For half an 
hour or more, she continued to ascend ; and, being a 
good " cragswoman," from the experience she had won 
in ^Wales as well as in northern England, she had 
reached an altitude much beyond what would generally 
be thought corresponding to the time occupied. The 
path had vanished altogether ; but she continued to 
trace out one for herself amongst the stones which had 
fallen from the u force," sometimes approaching much 
nearer to the openings allowed by the broken nature of 
the rock. Pressing forward in this manner, and still 
never looking back, all at once she found herself in a 
little stony chamber, from which there was no egress 
possible in advance. She stopped and looked up. 
There was a frightful silence in the air. She felt a 
sudden palpitation at her heart, and a panic from she 
knew not what. Turning, however, hastily, she soon 
wound herself out of this aerial dungeon ; but by steps 
so rapid and agitated that, at length, on looking round 
she found herself standing at the brink of a chasm, 
frightful to look down. That way, it was clear enough, 


all retreat was impossible ; but, on turning round, 
retreat seemed in every direction alike quite impos- 

Down the chasm, at least, she might have leaped, 
though with little or no chance of escaping with life ; 
but in all other quarters it seemed to her eye that at 
no price could she effect an exit, since the rocks stood 
round her in a semicircle, all lofty, all perpendicular, all 
glazed with trickling water, or smooth as polished 
porpyhry. Yet how, then, had she reached the point ? 
The same track, if she could discover it, would surely 
secure her escape. Round and round she walked; 
gazed with almost despairing eyes ; her breath came 
thicker and thicker ; for path she could not trace by 
which it was possible for her to have entered. Finding 
herself grow more and more confused, and every instant 
nearer to sinking into some fainting fit or convulsion, 
she resolved to sit down and turn her thoughts quietly 
into some less exciting channel. This she did ; gra- 
dually recovered some self-possession ; and then suddenly 
a thought rose up to her, that she was in the hands of 
God, and that He would not forsake her. . . . 

Once again she rose, and supporting herself upon a 
little sketching-stool that folded up into a stick, she 
looked upwards in the hope that some shepherd might, 
by chance, be wandering in those aerial regions ; but 
nothing could she see, except the tall birches growing 
at the brink of the highest summits, and the clouds 
sailing overhead. Suddenly, however, as she swept the 
whole circuit of her station with her alarmed eye, she 


saw clearly, about two hundred yards beyond her own 
position, a lady in a white muslin morning-robe, such 
as were then universally worn by young ladies until 
dinner-time. The lady beckoned with a gesture, and in 
a manner that, in a moment, gave her confidence to 
advance how., she could not guess, but in some way 
that baffled all power to retrace it, she found instan- 
taneously the outlet which previously had escaped her. 
She continued to advance towards the lady, whom now, 
in the same moment, she found to be standing upon the 
other side of the " force," and, also, to be her own sister. 
How or why that young lady, whom she had left at 
home earnestly occupied with her own studies, should 
have followed and overtaken her, filled her with per- 
plexity. But this was no situation for putting questions; 
for the guiding sister began to descend, and by a few 
simple gestures, just serving to indicate when Miss 
Elizabeth was to approach, and when to leave, the brink 
of the torrent, she gradually led her down to a platform 
of rock, from which the further descent was safe and 
conspicuous. There Miss Smith paused, in order to 
take breath from her panic, as well as to exchange 
greetings and questions with her sister. But sister was 
none ! All trace of her had vanished ; and when, two 
hours after, she reached her home, Miss Smith found 
her sister in the same situation and employment in 
which she had left her; and the whole] family assured 
Elizabeth that her sister had never stirred from the 
house I 



Mr. William Dobson's interesting Rambles by the 
Bibble, furnish one or two accounts of local dwellings 
labouring under the uncanny odour of beinsf haunted. 
Mr. Dobson, although evidently no believer in ghosts, 
and unable to resist the temptation of having a fling at 
their erratic courses, tells of their doings with a chroni- 
cler's exactitude. 

Writing in 1864, our authority says that Waddow 
Hall, in the township of Waddington, Yorkshire, was 
then in the occupation of James Garnett, Esquire, 
Mayor of Clitheroe. The property of the Ramsden 
family, Waddow Hall is situated in a pleasant park, 
which, though not of great extent, is of great beauty. 

The house stands on a knoll, with pleasant wood- 
lands about it. At the foot of a gentle slope flows the 
Eibble ; the castle and church of Clitheroe are seen to 
advantage, the smoke only indicating where the town of 
Clitheroe lies, an intervening hill hiding the town itself 
from view. The mansion contains many portraits of 
its former owners and various members of their family, 
but the main interest of Waddow appears to arise from 
its being the scene of an old legend, which the folks of 
Clitheroe and the neighbouring Yorkshire villages are 
never weary of repeating, and for the truth of which they 
are perfectly willing to vouch. Many of the older 
inhabitants of Clitheroe and Waddington would as soon 



doubt the Scriptures as they would a single iota of the 
following tradition. 

In the grounds of Waddow and near the banks of the 
Kibble, there is a spring called Peg o' Nell's Well, and 
good water the spring sendeth forth in plenty. Near 
the spring is a headless, now almost shapeless figure, 
said to be a representation of the famous Peg herself. 

Peg o' Nell, as I learned, says Mr. Dobson, was a 
young woman who, in days of yore, was a servant at 
Waddow Hall. On one occasion she was going to the 
well for water, the very well that to this day supplies 
the Hall with water for culinary purposes. She had 
had a quarrel with the lord or lady of Waddow, who, in 
a spirit of anger, not common, it is to be hoped, with 
masters and mistresses, wished that she might fall and 
break her neck. It was winter, and the ground was 
coated with ice; her pattens tripped in some way or 
other, Peggy fell, and the sad malediction was fully 
realised. To be revenged on her evil wisher, Peggy was 
wont to revisit her former home in the spirit, and 
torment her master and mistress by " making night 
hideous." Every disagreeable noise that was heard at 
Waddow was attributed to Peggy; every accident that 
occurred in the neighbourhood was through Peggy. No 
chicken was stolen, no cow died, no sheep strayed, no 
child was ill, no youth " took bad ways," but Peg 
was the evil genius. "When a Waddow farmer had 
stopped too long at the ' Dule ups' Dun,' and going 
home late had slipped off the hipping-stones at Brun- 
erley into the river, or a Clitheroe burgess, when in 


Borland, had, like 'Tarn o' Shanter' sat too long 
' fast by an ingle bleezing finely/ while ' the ale was 
growing better/ and had fallen off his horse in going 
home, and broken a limb, it was not the host's liquor 
that was charged with the mishap, but on Peggy's 
shoulders that the blame was laid." 

What was worse, in addition to these perpetual 
annoyances, every seven years Peg required a life ; 
and the story is that " Peg's Night," as the time of 
sacrifice at each anniversary was called, was duly 
observed ; and if no living animal were ready as a 
septennial offering to her manes, a human being became 
inexorably the victim. Consequently it grew to be the 
custom on " Peg's Night " to drown a bird, or a cat, or 
a dog in the river, and, a life being thus given, for 
another seven years Peggy was appeased. 

One night, at an inn in the neighbourhood, as the 
wind blew and the rattling showers rose on the blast, 
" and as the swollen Kibble roared over the hipping- 
stones, a young man, not in the soberest mood, had to 
go from Waddington to Clitheroe. No bridge then 
spanned the Bibble at Bungerley ; the only means of 
crossing the river was by the stones, which Henry the 
Sixth, in his last struggle for liberty, had tripped over 
towards ' Clitherwood.' He was told he must not 
venture over the water, it was not safe. He must be at 
Clitheroe that night, was his response, and go he would. 
j But,' said the young woman of the inn, by way of 
climax to the other arguments used to induce him not 
to go onward, * it 's Peg o' N^l's night, and she has 


not had her life.' He cared not for Peg o' Nell ; he 
laughed at her alleged requirement, gave loose to his 
horse's rein, and was soon at Bungerley. The following 
morning horse and rider had alike perished, and, of 
course, many believed the calamity was through Peg's 

Peg, it is averred, is still as insatiable as ever, and 
many would dread to dare her wrath. 


Mr. F. Eoss is contributing a most interesting series of 
antiquarian, historical, and folk-lore sketches to the 
Leeds Mercury, entitled, " Yorkshire Legends and 
Traditions." Some of these sketches have already been 
made use of for this volume, and from one on Watton 
Abbey, which appeared in the Mercury for June 1884, 
the following particulars are derived. 

The Tudor style of building which goes by the name 
of Watton Abbey, never was an Abbey, Mr. Ross 
informs us, but was a Gilbertine Priory. It is situated 
between the towns of Driffield and Beverley, in a charm- 
ing sequestered spot, surrounded by patriarchal trees. 
It has been occupied for some years past as a private 
residence, after having served for several years as an 
educational establishment. The present residence 
appears to bare been erected since the Reformation, 


and for its erection nearly the whole of the original 
conventual buildings appear to have been destroyed. 
Two hundred years ago the somewhat extensive remains 
of the old Priory were removed and made use of to 
repair Bolton Minster. 

The original nunnery is supposed to have been 
founded in the earliest period of Anglo-Saxon Chris- 
tianity. In the ninth century the establishment is 
believed to have been destroyed by the Danes, and to 
have been refounded in the twelfth century by Lord 
Eustace Fitz-John of Knaresborough, at the instigation 
of Murdac, Archbishop of York, and in atonement for 
his manifold crimes. He endowed it with the Lordship 
of Watton and its appurtenances, for the benefit of his 
own soul, and the souls of his parents, relatives, friends, 
and servants. It was to provide for thirteen canons, 
and thirty-six nuns of the new Gilbertine Order, who 
were to reside in the same block of buildings, but with 
a party-wall for the separation of sexes; the canons " to 
serve the nuns perpetually in terrene, as well as in divine 
matters. " 

Murdac had obtained preferment from Thurstan, 
Archbishop of York, and when that dignitary died, 
Murdac headed the Cistercians against William Fitz- 
herbert, the nephew and nominee of King Stephen for 
the vacant Archbishopric. Appeal was made to Pope 
Eugenius, and His Holiness suspended Fitzherbert, the 
Archbishop elect. Out of revenge for this, Fitzherbert 
went, with his supporters, to Fountains, of which place 
Murdac was now Abbot, and after an ineffectual search 


for his rival, set fire to the abbey, and retired. The 
deed caused an immense sensation. Fitzherbert's 
triumph was short ; he was deposed from his Arch- 
bishopric, and, in 1147, Murdac elected in his stead. 

Murdac went to Rome and had his election confirmed 
by the Pope, but on returning to England found York 
barred against his entry. He retired to Beverley, but 
the King refused to recognise him, sequestered the 
stalls of York, and fined Beverley for harbouring him. 
Murdac, however, appears to have continued to perform 
all the functions of his exalted office, even excommuni- 
cating certain Church dignitaries, and laying the 
northern metropolis under an interdict. He died at 
Beverley in 1153, and was interred at York Cathedral. 

Soon after Murdac's return from Borne he greatly 
promoted the welfare of the re-established Watton, and 
placed within its walls for education, with a view of her 
ultimately taking the veil, a child of about four years 
old. Of this little girl Mr. Ross furnishes the following 
story : 

" Elfrida, the child whom Murdac had placed in the 
convent, was a merry, vivacious little creature; and 
whilst but a child was a source of amusement to the 
sisterhood, who, although prim and demure in bearing, 
and some of them sour-tempered and acid in their tem- 
pers, were wont to smile at her youthful frolics and 
ringing laugh ; but as she grew older, her outbursts of 
merriment, and the sallies of wit that began to animate 
her conversation, were checked, as being inconsistent 
with the character of a voting ladvwhowas now enrolled 


as novice, preparatory to taking the veil. As she 
advanced towards womanhood her form gradually de- 
veloped into a most symmetrical figure ; and her features 
became the perfection of beauty, set off with a trans- 
parent delicacy of complexion, such as would have 
rendered her a centre of attraction even among the 
beauties of a Koyal Court. This excited the jealousy of 
the sisters, who were chiefly elderly and middle-aged 
spinsters, whose homely and somewhat coarse features 
had proved detrimental to their hopes of obtaining hus- 
bands. They began to treat her with scornful looks, 
chilling neglect, and petty persecutions ; but when she, 
later on, evinced a manifest repugnance to convent life, 
ridiculed the ways of the holy sisters, and even satirised 
them, they charged her with entertaining rebellious and 
ungodly sentiments, and subjected her to penances and 
other modes of wholesome correction, such as they con- 
sidered would subdue her worldly spirit. 

" Sprightly and light-hearted as she was, Elfrida was 
not happy, immured as she was within these detested 
walls, and condemned to assist in wearisome services, 
such as she thought might perhaps be congenial to the 
souls of her elder sisters, whose hopes of worldly happi- 
ness and conjugal endearment had been blighted, but 
which were altogether unsuited for one so beautiful (for 
she knew that she was fair, and was vain of her looks) 
and so cheerful-minded as herself; and she longed with 
intense desire to escape, mingle with the outer world, 
and have free intercourse with the other sex. 

" According to the charter of endowment, the lav 


brethren of the monastery were entrusted with the 
management of the secular affairs of the nunnery, which 
necessitated their admission within its portals on certain 
occasions for conference with the prioress. On these 
occasions Elfrida would cast furtive and very un-nunlike 
glances upon their persons. She was particularly 
attracted by one of them, a young man of prepossessing 
mien and seductive style of speech, and she felt her 
heart beat wildly whenever he came with the other 
visitors. He noticed her surreptitious glances, and saw 
that she was exceedingly beautiful, and his heart re- 
sponded to the sentiment he felt that he had inspired 
in hers. They maintained this silent but eloquent lan- 
guage of love for some time, and soon found means of 
having stolen interviews under the darkness of night, 
when vows of everlasting love were interchanged, and 
led, eventually, to consequences which, at the outset, 
were not dreamt of by the erring pair. 

" Suspicion having been excited by her altered form, 
she was summoned before her superiors on a charge of 
' transgressing the conventual rules and violating one of 
the most stringent laws of monastic life/ and as con- 
cealment was impossible she boldly confessed her fault, 
adding that she had no vocation for a convent life, and 
desired to be banished from the community. This re- 
quest could not be listened to for a moment. The culprit 
had brought a scandal and indelible stain upon the 
fair fame of the house, which must, at any cost, be con- 
cealed from the world; and her open avowal of her 
guilt raised in the breasts of the pious sisterhood a 


perfect fury of indignation, and a determination to in- 
flict immediate and condign punishment on her. It was 
variously suggested that she should be burnt to death, 
that she should be walled up alive, that she should be 
flayed, that her flesh should be torn from her bones 
with red-hot pincers, that she should be roasted to death 
before a fire, &c. ; but the more prudent and aged 
averted these extreme measures, and suggested some 
milder forms of punishment, which were at once carried 
out. The miserable object of their vengeance was 
stripped of her clothing, stretched on the floor, and 
scourged with rods until the blood trickled down pro- 
fusely from her lacerated back. She was then cast into 
a noisome dungeon, without light, fettered by iron 
chains to the floor, and supplied with only bread and 
water, ' which was administered with bitter taunts and 

" Meanwhile the young man, her paramour, had left 
the monastery, and as the nuns were desirous of inflict- 
ing some terrible punishment upon him for his horrible 
crime, they extorted from Elfrida, under promise that 
she should be released and given up to him, the confes- 
sion that he was still in the neighbourhood in disguise, 
and that, not knowing of the discovery that had been 
made, he would come to visit her, and make the usual 
signal of throwing a stone on the roof over her sleeping 
cell. The Prioress made this known to the brethren of 
the monastery, and arranged with them for his capture. 
The following night he came, looked cautiously round, 
and then threw the stone, when the monks rushed out of 


ambush, cudgelled him soundly, and then took him a 
prisoner into the house. The younger part of the nuns, 
inflamed with a pious zeal, demanded the custody of 
the prisoner, on pretence of gaining further information. 
Their request was granted, and taking him to an un- 
frequented part of the convent, they committed on his 
person such brutal atrocities as cannot be translated with- 
out polluting the page on which they are written ; and, to 
increase the horror, the lady was brought forth to be 
witness of the abominable scene.' 

Whilst lying in her dungeon, Elfrida became penitent 
and conscious of having committed a gross crime, and 
one night, whilst sleeping in her fetters, Archbishop 
Murdac appeared to her and charged her with having 
cursed him. She replied that she certainly had cursed 
him for having placed her n so uncongenial a sphere. 
' Rather curse yourself,' said he, ' for having given way 
to temptation.' ' So I do,' she answered, ' and I regret 
having imputed the bl^me to you.' He then exhorted 
her to repentance aud the daily repetition of certain 
psalms, and then vanished, a vision which afforded her 
much consolation. 

" The holy sisters were now much troubled on the 
question of what should be done with the infant which 
was expected daily, and preparations were made for its 
reception; when Elfrida was again visited by the Arch- 
bishop, accompanied by two women, who, * with the 
holy aid of the Archbishop, safely delivered her of the 
infant, which they bore away in their arms, covered with 
a fair white cloth.' When the nuns came the next morn- 


ing tliey found her in perfect health and restored to her 
youthful appearance, without any signs of the accouche- 
ment, and charged her with murdering'the infant a very 
improbable idea, seeing that she was still chained to the 
floor. She narrated what had occurred, but was not 
believed. The next night all her fetters were miraculously 
removed, and when her cell was entered the following 
morniug she was found standing free, and the chains not 
to be found. 

" The Father Superior of the convent was then called 
in, and he invited Alured, Abbot of Rievaulx, to assist 
him in the investigation of the case, who decided that 
it was a miraculous intervention, and the Abbot de- 
parted, saying, ' What God hath cleansed call not thou 
common or unclean, and whom He hath loosed thou 
mavest not bind/ 


" What afterwards became of Elfrida is not stated, but 
we may presume that after these miraculous events she 
frould be admitted as a thrice holy member of the sister- 
hood, despite her little peccadillo." 

Now there is a haunted room in Watton Abbey, and 
the spectre which frequents it is popularly known as 
"The Headless Nun of Watton." The belief of the 
learned is, however, that the apparition which haunts 
Watton is not that of the transgressing nun of the 
twelfth, but a brutally beheaded lady of the seventeenth, 
century. Mr. Ross opines that the story-tellers have 
confused the two traditions, and have treated them as 
one story, regarding the two heroines as identical. No 
one would appear to have seen the possibility of the 



old place being haunted by two ghosts by rival appa- 
ritions ! 

The stories of both the heroines are narrated by Mr. 
Koss ; that of the frail nun being derived from Alured 
of Rievaulx's account. The old monkish chronicler 
vouches for the truth of his narration, saying, " Let no 
one doubt the truth of this account, for I was an eye- 
witness to many of the facts, and the remainder were 
related to me by persons of such mature age and dis- 
tinguished position that I cannot doubt the accuracy of 
their statements." 

So much for the account of the fair nun ; that of her 
more unfortunate sister is of comparatively recent date. 
According to the later tradition, as related to us by Mr. 
Ross, " a lady of distinction who then occupied the 
house (at Watton), was a devoted Royalist in the great 
Civil War which resulted in the death of King Charles. 
It was after the battle of Marston Moor, which was a 
death-blow to the Royalists north of the Humber, and 
when the Parliamentarians dominated the broad lands 
of Yorkshire, that a party of fanatical Roundheads came 
into the neighbourhood of Watton, ' breathing out 
threatenings and slaughter,' against the ' Malignants/ 
and especially against such as still clung to the * vile rags 
of the whore of Babylon/ vowing to put all such to the 
sword. The lady of Watton, who was a devout Catho- 
lic, heard of this band of Puritan soldiers, who were 
' rampaging ' over the Wolds, and of the barbarous 
murders of which they had been guilty. Her husband 
was away, fighting in the ranks of the King, down 


Oxford way, and she was left without any protector ex- 
cepting a handful of servants, male and female, who 
would be of no use against a hand of armed soldiers, 
and it was with great fear and trembling that she heard 
of their arrival at Driffield, some three or four miles 
distant, where they had been plundering and maltreating 
' the Philistines,' fearing more for her infant than her- 
self, as she believed the prevalent exaggerated rumour, 
that it was a favourite amusement with them to toss 
babies up in the air, and catch them on the points of 
their pikes. 

" At length news was brought that the marauders were 
on the march to Watton, for the purpose of plundering 
it, as the home of a ' malignant/ and the lady, for better 
security, shut herself, with her child and her jewels, in 
the wainscotted room, hoping in case of extremity to 
escape by means of the secret stair, and in the mean- 
while, committed herself and her child to the care of the 
Virgin Mother. It was not long ere the band of soldiers 
arrived and hammered at the door, calling aloud for ad- 
mittance, but met with no response. They were about 
breaking down the door, and went in search of imple- 
ments for the purpose, when they caught sight of a low 
archway opening upon the moat, which they guessed to 
be a side entrance to the house, and, crossing the moat, 
they found the stair, which they ascended, and came to 
the panel, which they concluded was a disguised door. 
A few blows sufficed to dash it open, and they came 
into the presence of the lady, who was prostrate before 
a crucifix. Rising up, she demanded what they wanted, 



and wherefore this rude intrusion. They replied tha\, 
they had come to despoil the ' Egyptian ' who owned the 
mansion, and, if he had been present, to smite him to 
death as a worshipper of idols and an abomination in 
the eyes of God. 

"An angry altercation ensued, the lady, who possessed 
a high spirit, making a free use of her tongue in up- 
braidings and reproaches for their dastardly conduct on 
the Wolds, of which she had heard, to which they lis- 
tened very impatiently, and replied in coarse language, 
not fit for a lady's ears, at the same time demanding the 
plate and other valuables of the house. She scorn- 
fully refused to give them up, and told them that 
if they wanted them they must find them for them- 
selves, and, at length, so provoked them by her taunta 
that they cried, ' Hew down with the sword the woman 
of Belial and the spawn of the malignant/ and suit- 
ing the action to the word, they caught her child from 
her arms, dashed its brains out against the wall, and 
then cut her down and ' hewed ' off her head, after 
which they plundered the house and departed with 
their spoil. 

" It must not be supposed that these ruffians were a 
fair specimen of the brave, God-fearing men v/ho fought 
under Fairfax, and put Newcastle and Kupert to flight 
at Marston Moor, who fought with the sword in one 
hand and the Bible in the other, who laid the axe at the 
root of Royal arbitrary prerogative, and were the real 
authors of the civil and religious liberty which we now 
enjoy. But, as in all times of civil commotion, there 

Watton abbey, 599 

were evil-minded wretches who, for purposes of plunder, 
assumed the garb and adopted the phraseology of the 
noble-minded soldiers of Fairfax and Hampden and the 
Ironsides of Cromwell, out-Puritaned them in their 
hypocritical cant, bringing disgrace and scandal upon 
the armies with which they associated themselves. And 
such were the villains who despoiled Watton, and slew 
so barbarously the poor lady and her infant ; and from 
that time the ghost of the lady has haunted the room in 
which the deed was perpetrated." 

In the present house at Watton, says our authority, 
" there is a chamber wainscotted throughout with panelled 
oak, one of the panels forming a door, so accurately fitted 
that it cannot be distinguished from the other panels. It 
is opened by a secret spring, and communicates with a 
stone stair that goes down to the moat; and it may be 
that the room was a hiding-place for the Jesuits or 
priests of the Catholic Church when they were so ruth- 
lessly hunted down and barbarously executed in the 
Elizabethan and Jacobean reigns. The room is re- 
puted to be haunted by the ghost of a headless lady 
with an infant in her arms, who comes, or came 
thither formerly, to sleep there nightly, the bed-clothes 
being found the following morning in a disordered 
state, as they would be after a person had been 
sleeping in them. If by chance any person had daring 
enough to occupy the room, the ghost would come, 
minus the head, dressed in blood-stained garments, with 
her infant in her arms, and would stand motionless at 
the foot of the bed for a while, and then vanish. A 


visitor on one occasion, who knew nothing of the legend, 
was put to sleep in the chamber, who, in the morning, 
stated that his slumbers had been disturbed by a spectral 
visitant, in the form of a lady with bloody raiment and 
an infant, and that her features bore a strange resem- 
blance to those of a lady whose portrait hung in the 
room ; from which it would appear that on that special 
occasion she had donned her head." 

Does not the appearance of this last-seen apparition 
seem to favour the theory, despite our authority's 
ironical remark, that Watton may be haunted by the 
apparitions of both the unfortunate women whose stories 
have just been narrated ? 


Spectre Horsemen and Wild Huntsmen throng the tra- 
ditionary lore of all European nations. Those who wish 
to trace the theme to its earliest origin, should consult 
Mr. Charles Hardwick's work on the Traditions, Su- 
perstitions, and Folk-lore of the north of England. A 
typical legend is related by Sam Bamford, in his poem 
of The Wild Rider, of a Sir Ashton Lever of whom it 
was asserted that he performed such wonderful feats of 
horsemanship, " that no horse could have carried him 
save one of more than earthlv breed." Other writers, 
both British and foreign, have celebrated in prose and 


verse the deeds of spectre riders and their ghostly 
steeds, but the following account is the one most closely 
allied to the theme set before us : it is in Harland's 
Lancashire Legends, and is of contemporary belief. 

" Wyecoller Hall, near Colne, was long the seat of 
the Cunliffes of Billington. They were noted persons 
in their day, and the names of successive members of 
the family are attached to documents relating to the 
property of the Abbots of Whalley. But evil days came, 
and their ancestral estates passed out of their hands 
In the days of the Commonwealth their loyalty cost 
them dear ; and ultimately they retired to Wyecoller 
with a remnant only of their once extensive estates. 
About 1819 the last of the family passed away, and the 
Hall is now a mass of ruins. Little but the antique 
fire-place remains entire ; and even the room alluded to 
in the following legend cannot now be identified. 

" Tradition says that once every year a spectre 
horseman visits Wyecoller Hall. He is attired in the 
costume of the early Stuart period, and the trappings of 
his horse are of a most uncouth description. On the 
evening of his visit the weather is always wild and 
tempestuous. There is no moon to light the lonely 
roads, and the residents of the district do not venture 
out of their cottages. When the wind howls the 
loudest the horseman can be heard dashing up the road 
at full speed, and after crossing the narrow bridge, he 
suddenly stops at the door of the Hall. The rider then 
dismounts and makes his way up the broad oaken stairs 
into one of the rooms of the house. Dreadful screams, 


as from a woman, are then heard, which soon subside 
into groans. The horseman then makes his appearance 
at the door at once mounts his steed and gallops off 
the road he came. His body can be seen through by 
those who may chance to be present ; his horse appears 
to be wild with rage, and its nostrils stream with fire. 

" The tradition is that one of the Cunliffes murdered 
his wife in that room, and that the spectre horseman is 
the ghost of the murderer, who is doomed to pay an 
annual visit to the home of his victim. She is said to 
have predicted the extinction of the family, which (pre- 
diction) has literally been fulfilled." 


Many a curious chapter has been written about the 
human cranium, but, probably, none more singular than 
that titled " Skull Superstitions," by Mr. William 
Andrews, in his work on Historic Romance. Among 
other instances of the belief prevalent in certain locali- 
ties of the way in which skulls influence the fortunes of 
families, or at any of their residences,, he cites the sin- 
gular and oft-referred-to case of the empty head-piece 
kept at Wardley Hall. This ancient pile of buildings, 
erected in the reign of the sixth Edward, is about seven 
miles from Manchester, and is historically noted for its 
possession of an unburied human skull. 

The old Hall is situated in the midst of a small 

Wakdley hall. 603 

woody glade, and was originally surrounded by a moat, 
except on the east side, which was protected by natural 
defences. In Lancashire Legends, Mr. T. T. Wilkin- 
son says : " This black and white half-timbered edifice 


is of a quadrangular form, consisting of ornamented 
wood and plaster frames, interlined with bricks (plas- 
tered and white-washed, the woodwork being painted 
black), and entered by a covered archway, opening into 
a court-yard in the centre, like so many of the manor- 
houses of the same age in Lancashire. About 1830 it 
was in a ruinous condition, one part being occupied as 
a farm-house, and the other formed into a cluster of 
nine cottages. The Hall has since been thoroughly 
renovated, and has been occupied ^or many years by a 
gentleman farmer &m\ collie^ owner.' 

Wardley Hall, and the surrounding property, after 
having been in the possession of various gentle fami- 
lies, in the early part of the seventeenth century passed 
into the hands of the Downes, and the Hall became 
the residence of Roger Downe. Roger, the grandson of 
this gentleman, and the heir to the property, is de- 
scribed as one of the most dissolute courtiers of Charles 
the Second's Court. After a reckless career of crime, 
this young man, the last male representative of his 
family, was slain in a drunken brawl, and, says tradi- 
tion, his head having been severed from his body, was 
sent as a memento mori to his sister. That head, ac- 
cording to popular faith, has been kept at the Hall 
ever since, none of the tenants having ever been enabled 
to get rid of it. 


Mr. Andrews refers to various accounts relating to 
this noted relic, but quotes, as the most curious, one 
found in the manuscripts of Thomas Barritt, the Man- 
chester antiquary, describing his own visit to Wardley 
Hall about the end of the last century. That account 
it will be well to follow. 

" A human skull which, time out of mind, hath had a 
superstitious veneration paid to it by [the occupiers of 
the Hall] not permitting it to be removed from its situ- 
ation, which is on the topmost step of a staircase. 
There is a tradition that, if removed or ill-used, some 
uncommon noise and disturbance always follows, to the 
terror of the whole house ; yet I cannot persuade my- 
self this is always the case. But, some years ago, I 
and three of my acquaintances went to view this sur- 
prising piece of household furniture, and found it as 
above mentioned, and bleached white with weather, that 
beats in upon it from a four-square window in the hall, 
which the tenants never permit to be glazed or filled 
up, thus to oblige the skull, which, they say, is unruly 
and disturbed at the hole not being always open. 

" However, one of us, who was last in company with 
the skull, removed it from its place into a dark part 
of the room, and then left, and returned home ; but the 
night but one following, such a storm arose about the 
house, of wind and lightning, as tore down some trees, 
and unthatched out-housing. We hearing of this, my 
father went over in a few days after to see his mother, 
who lived near the Hall, and was witness to the wreck 
the storm had made. Yet ail this might have hap- 


pened had the skull never been removed; but, withal, 
it keeps alive the credibility of its believers. 

" What I can learn of the above affair from old people 
in the neighbourhood is, that a young man of the 
Downes family, being in London, one night in his 
frolics vowed to his companions that he would kill the 
first man he met ; and accordingly he ran his sword 
through a man immediately, a tailor by trade. How- 
ever, justice overtook him in his career of wickedness ; 
for, in some while after, he being in a riot upon London 
Bridge, a watchman made a stroke at him with his bill, 
and severed his head from his body, which head was 
enclosed in a box, and sent to his sister, who then lived 
at Wardley, where it hath continued ever since." 

Roby, in his Traditions of Lancashire, refers to this 
Wardley legend. After relating the fate of young 
Downes, and the sending home of his decapitated head, 
he says : " The skull was removed, secretly at first, but 
invariably it returned to the Hall, and no human power 
could drive it thence. It hath been riven to pieces, 
burnt, and otherwise destroyed; but on the subsequent 
day it was seen filling its wonted place." 

Elsewhere he relates that at Wardley " a human skull 
is still shown here, which is usually kept in a little 
locked recess in the staircase wall, and which the occu- 
piers of the Hall would never permit to be removed. 
This grim caput mortuum being, it is said, much averse 
to any change of place or position, never failed to punish 
the individual severely which should dare to lay hands 
upon it with any such purpose. If removed, drowned 


in the neighbouring pond (which is, in fact, a part of 
the old moat which formerly surrounded the house), or 
buried, it was sure to return ; so that, in the end, each 
succeeding tenant was fain to endure its presence rather 
than be subject to the terrors and annoyances conse- 
quent upon its removal. Even the square aperture in 
the wall was not permitted to be glazed without the 
skull or its long-defunct owner creating some distur- 
bance. It was almost bleached white by exposure to 
the weather, and many curious persons have made a 
pilgrimage there, even of late years." 

In Harland and Wilkinson's Lancashire Legends, a 
quite recent work, the Editor says that when he visited 
the Hall, some years ago, he found that a locked door 
concealed at once the square aperture and its fearful 
tenant. At that time two keys were provided for this 
tl place of a skull," one being kept by the tenant of the 
Hall, and the other by the Countess of Ellesmere, the 
owner of the property. Occasionally the Countess 
would accompany visitors from the neighbouring 
Worsley Hall, and would unlock the door and show to 
her friends the Wardley Hall skull. Mr. Wilkinson 
revisited the quaint old residence in 1861, and again 
personally inspected this strange relic of mortality. An 
account of this re-inspection is given in the volume 
above referred to. 




Bath is veritably honeycombed, even in these realistic 
days, with inexplicable mysteries. Haunted houses are 
of common occurrence in Bladud's city, and there are 
now before us several cases of ghostly doings therein 
which, for reasons pecuniary or personal, the owners or 
tenants deprecate direct allusion to. One of the best- 
known of these troubled homes is in Lansdowne Cres- 
cent, and upon the story connected with this building, 
the number of which we cannot furnish, an interesting 
romance has been founded by Miss Mary C. Kowsell. 
The story current in Bath is that every Sunday night, 
at eleven o'clock, the sound of clashing swords and of 
angry mutterings is heard outside the doors of the 
first-floor rooms, and that everyone who has ventured 
within those rooms at such a time has heard the noises ; 
yet when the doors are opened nothing is seen, nothing 
is heard. 

Another of these haunted houses is in the Villa Fields ; 
but the mysteries connected with it, although alleged to 
have been detailed at length in a London magazine, we 
have been unable to fathom. Other tales, more or less 


circumstantial, have been related to us of houses in 
Bath, including one in Henrietta Street, Great Pulteney 
Street. In this house, some years ago, a man murdered 
his wife, and left her bleeding corse on the hearth-stone 
in the kitchen. With foresight rarely displayed by 
murderers, he locked the front door previous to escaping 
by the back, which he pulled-to after him. Getting 
into Great Pulteney Street, he made his way to his 
residence in Henrietta Street, and attempted to open 
the front door, or rather pretended to. The door was, 
of course, locked, so he called a policeman, who forced 
his way in and found the dead body of the wife. Not- 
withstanding the man's cunning, the crime was ulti- 
mately brought home to him, and, doubtless, he suffered 
the punishment awarded by law for his crime. The 
fact, however, which causes us to allude to this con- 
ventional story of assassination is, that the tragedy left 
ineffaceable traces ; ever since the ghastly body of the 
murdered wife was flung upon that hearth the stone 
there has had stains which cannot be got out. Even 
new hearth-stones have been put down, but the blood- 
stains force their way through, and cannot be eradicated ! 
In All the Year Round for January 1868, attention 
is drawn to the fact that Bath is " a perfect nest of 
ghosts/' Amongst its haunted houses is Jervis House, 
described as a handsome country seat, possessed of a 
traditional ghost, and as a building about two centuries 
old, standing in extensive grounds, within which is a 
large ornamental lake, with a treeless island in the 
centre of it. " A gentleman who was on a visit for the 

BATH. 611 

first time at Jervis House, a year or two ago/' says 
this writer, " observed to his host at breakfast, * I see 
there is no bridge accommodation with your little 

" ' None. 1 

" ' I thought, too, you told me you had at present no 
boat on the lake ? ' 

" ' Nor have I,' replied his friend. ' Why ? ' 

' How, then, do ladies effect the passage?' 

" The host hesitated. 

" * Ladies ? ' he repeated ; ' do you mean ' 

" ' I mean, my good friend, that I noticed a lady 
walking on the island this morning, so early that I won- 
dered at her fancy. She passed entirely round, and 
crossed it twice, so that I could not possibly be mis- 

" ' You have seen the Jervis ghost,' said his friend 

" And the subject was dismissed." 

Of course, this is a very tantalizing" finale, but all our 
efforts to obtain any further information for the benefit 
of our readers about Jervis House, orits ghostly tenant, 
have proved fruitless. 

Another narrative told in the same number of the 
periodical cited refers to another haunted residence in 
the vicinity of Bath, and is, if equally inexplicable, 
certainly more blood-curdling. It relates to Barton 
Hall, and the circumstances are asserted bv its narrator 
to be " oerfectlv true/' and to have occurred but a verv 
short time since (1868) to two young ladies, sisters, 



from whom the facts were derived, on the occasion of 
their visit to the Hall. 

" They had retired/' says the account, " to the cham- 
ber occupied by both, and the elder sister was already 
in bed. The younger was kneeling before the fire. The 
door opened softly, and a woman, entering, crossed 
the apartment, and bent down before a chest of drawers, 
as if intending to open the lower one. Thinking it was 
one of the maids, the young lady who was in bed 
accosted her. * Is that you, Mary ? What are you 
looking for there ? ' 

"Her sister, who was before the fire, had risen to 
her feet, and turned towards the woman. In the act 
she uttered a loud shriek, and, staggering back, fell 
haif-fainting on the bed. The other sprang up, and 
followed the intruder, who seemed to retreat quickly 
into an adjoining dressing-room. The young lady 
entered. It was empty. 

'* Returning to her sister, the latter, who had re- 
covered from her consternation, explained the cause of 
her outcry. The woman, in turning to meet her, dis- 
played a human countenance, but devoid of eyes." 


One of those singular dreams, which have attained to 
historic importance as much by their recorder's position. 

BOWL AND, 613 

as their own inexplicable nature, is given in a note to 
The Antiquary by Sir Walter Scott himself. In vouch- 
ing for the entire authenticity of the story, Sir Walter 
states that it was told to him " by persons who had the 
best access to know the facts, who were not likely 
themselves to be deceived, and who were certainly in- 
capable of deception." He was, therefore, as he 
remarks of the story, unable " to refuse to give it 
credit, however extraordinary the circumstances may 

Sir Walter's version of the story, with the names, of 
which he gives only the initials and final letters, duly 
filled in, is : 

" Mr. Kutherford, of Bowland, a gentleman of landed 
property in the Vale of Gala, was prosecuted for a very 
considerable sum, the accumulated arrears of teind (or 
tithe), for which he was said to be indebted to a noble 
family, the titulars (lay impropriators of the tithes). 
Mr. Kutherford was strongly impressed with the belief 
that his father had, by a form of process peculiar to the 
law of Scotland, purchased these teinds from the titular, 
and, therefore, that the present prosecution was ground- 
less. But, after an industrious search among his 
father's papers, an investigation among the public 
records, and a careful inquiry among all persons who 
had transacted law business for his father, no evidence 
could be recovered to support his defence. The period 
was now near at hand, when he conceived the loss of 
his law-suit to be inevitable ; and he had formed the 
determination to ride to Edinburgh next day, and make 



the best bargain he could in the way of compromise. 
He went to bed with this resolution ; and, with all the 
circumstances of the case floating upon his mind, had a 
dream to the following purpose. His father, who had 
been dead many years, appeared to him, he thought, 
and asked him why he was disturbed in his mind. In 
dreams men are not surprised at such apparitions. Mr. 
Rutherford thought that he informed his father of the 
cause of his distress, adding that the payment of a con- 
siderable sum of money was the more unpleasant to him 
because he had a strong consciousness that it was not 
due, though he was unable to recover any evidence in 
support of his belief. * You are right, my son,' 
replied the paternal shade : 'I did acquire right to these 
leitids, for payment of which you are now prosecuted. 
The papers relating to the transaction are in the hands 

of Mr. , a writer (or attorney), who is now retired 

from professional business, and resides at Inveresk, 
near Edinburgh. He was a person whom I employed 
on that occasion for a particular reason, but who never, 
on any other occasion, transacted business on my 
account. It is very possible,' pursued the vision, ' that 

Mr. may have forgotten a matter which is now of 

a very old date ; but you may call it to his recollection 
by this token, that, when I came to pay his account, 
there was difficulty in getting change for a Portugal 
piece of gold, and we were forced to drink out the 
balance at a tavern. 

" Mr. Rutherford awoke, in the morning, with all the 
words of the vision imprinted on his mind, and thought 


it worth while to walk across the country to Inveresk, 
instead of going straight to Edinburgh- When he 
came there he waited on the gentleman mentioned in 
the dream a very old man. Without saying anything 
of the vision, he inquired whether he ever remembered 
having conducted such a matter for his deceased father. 
The old gentleman could not, at first, bring the circum- 
stance to his recollection ; but, on mention of the 
Portugal piece of gold, the whole returned upon his 
memory. He made an immediate search for the papers, 
and recovered them; so that Mr. Rutherford carried to 
Edinburgh the documents necessary to gain the cause 
which he was on the verge of losing.' 


In Horace Welby's Sig?is before Death, a work to 
which we have elsewhere had occasion to refer, the 
following narrative is given, and in these words : 

" One morning in the summer of 1745, Mrs. Jane 
Lowe, housekeeper to Mr. Pringle, of Clifton Park, in 
the south of Scotland,, beheld the apparition of a lady 
walking in the avenue, on the margin of a rivulet, which 
runs into Kale water. The form resembled a daughter 
of her master who had long been absent from the 
family, at the distance of about a hundred miles south 
of Paris. As Mrs. Lowe walked down the avenue and 


approached the rivulet, this resemblance impressed her 
so strongly that, seeing her master in an enclosure 
adjoining, she went and told him what she had seen. 
Mr. Pringle laughed, and said, ' You simple woman ! 
that lady is Miss Chattow, of Morebattle.' However, 
Mrs. Lowe prevailed upon him to accompany her to the 
place, which they had nearly reached, when the appari- 
tion sprang into the water and instantly disappeared. 

" Mr. Pringle and Mrs. Lowe, on returning to the 
hall, apprized the family of the vision, and for their 
pains were heartily laughed at. The Kev. Mr. Turnbull, 
minister of Linton, happened to breakfast that morning 
with Mr. Pringle, his lady, and two young daughters, 
who joined in the laugh. About three months after- 
wards, the same reverend gentleman honoured the 
family with his company ; when, standing at a window 
in the lower room, he observed a poor, ragged, lame, 
lean man slowly approaching the house. ' Here comes 
another apparition/ cried Mr. Turnbull, with a kind of 
contemptuous smile. This drew the immediate atten- 
tion of all present, and Mr. Pringle quickly recognised 
the person to be his second son, whom he had not seen 
for above ten years. 

" On his arrival, he soon convinced them that he was 
not an apparition, declaring that he had narrowly 
escaped with his life from Tunis, in the vicinity of 
which he had been a slave to the Algerines seven years, 
but had happily been ransomed at the critical moment 
when he was ordered to be put to death for mutiny. 
He added, that on his return home through France, he 


called at the place where he had heard that his sister 
resided, and to his unspeakable grief found that she 
died on the 25th of May, the same summer, about five 
o'clock in the morning, which he recollected to have 
been the precise time when he was saved from the jaws 
of death, and when he thought he beheld his sister. 
Mrs. Lowe, who was present in the room, on hearing his 
declaration, added her testimony by affirming that the 
day alluded to was that on which she had shown Mr. 
Pringle the apparition ; and this was confirmed by the 
Reverend Mr. Turnbull, in whose study this narrative 
was found after his death/' 



Under the title of Aunt Margaret's Mirror, Sir Walter 
Scott published a tale, the incidents of which were de- 
rived from some circumstances in the early life of the 
Countess of Stair, wife of John, the second Earl. The 
author of Waverley only related the remarkable events 
alluded to in a condensed manner, but from various 
Scottish writers, especially Robert Chambers, we are 
enabled to furnish the story in a more ample form. 

Lady Eleanor Campbell was youngest daughter of 
James, second Earl of Loudon, and, therefore, grand- 
daughter to that stern old Earl who played so important 
a part in the affairs of the Covenant, and who was Lord 


Chancellor of Scotland during the Civil War. Whilst 
very young, in the beginning of the last century, Lady 
Mary was married to James, the first Viscount Primrose. 
Her husband is described as a nobleman of bad temper 
and dissolute habits, and is averred to have treated his 
young wife with great brutality. Eventually his con- 
duot became so outrageous that the unfortunate lady 
went in fear of her life. One morning, it is stated, 
whilst she was labouring under this dreadful anticipa- 
tion, she was dressing herself in her chamber, near an 
open window, when she saw her husband enter the room 
with a drawn sword in his hand. He had opened the 
door softly, and approached his wife with stealthy steps, 
but she had caught a glimpse, in the mirror, of his face, 
upon which his horrible resolution was depicted, and 
before he had time to do her any injury, she leapt 
through an open window into the street. She does not 
appear to have sustained any important injury by her 
dangerous leap, and was enabled, half-dressed as she 
was, to gejt to the house of her husband's mother and 
claim her protection, which was, of course, accorded. 

After such proceedings, it was impossible to think of 
a reconciliation, and, in future, the ill-assorted couple 
lived apart. Soon after this escapade, Lord Primrose 
went abroad, and for a very long while Lady Primrose 
heard nothing whatever about him. During this lengthy 
separation a foreign fortune-teller, or necromancer, 
came to Edinburgh, and, among other accomplishments, 
professed to be able to inform anyone of the present 
condition or position of any other person in whom the 


applicant was interested, irrespective of their distance. 
Hearing of the marvels performed by this foreigner, and 
incited by curiosity, Lady Primrose went, with a lady 
friend, to his lodgings in the Canongate for the purpose 
of inquiring about her absent husband. 

The two ladies, escorted by their servants, duly 
reached the place of their quest. Lady Primrose 
having described the individual in whose fate she was 
interested, and having expressed her desire to know how 
he was occupied, was led by the conjuror to a large 
mirror. Upon looking into it, she perceived distinctly 
the inside of a church, within which, grouped about 
the altar, a marriage ceremony appeared to be pro- 
ceeding. What, however, was Lady Primrose's astonish- 
ment when, in the shadowy bridegroom, she recognised 
her own husband, although the bride's face was entirely 
strange to her ! The magical scene thus wonderfully 
displayed before her bewildered gaze, she described as not 
so much like a picture, or the delineation of the pencil, 
as a living, moving tableau of real life. Whilst Lady 
Primrose gazed, the whole ceremonial of the marriage 
appeared to be taking place before her. The necessary 
arrangements had been made; the priest appeared 
about to pronounce the preliminary service ; he was, 
apparently, on the point of bidding the bride and bride- 
groom join hands, when, suddenly, a gentleman, whom 
the party seemed to have been waiting for some time, 
and in whom Lady Primrose recognised a brother of her 
own, then abroad, entered the church, and hurried 
towards the bridal group. At first the aspect of this 


person was only that of a friend, who had been invited 
to the ceremony, and who had arrived late ; but when 
he arrived near the party, the expression of his counte- 
nance suddenly altered. He stopped short; his face 
assumed a wrathful expression ; he drew his sword and 
rushed at the bridegroom, who also drew his weapon. 
The whole scene then became quite tumultuous and 
indistinct, and speedily vanished away. 

Upon her return home, Lady Primrose wrote out a 
minute account of the whole affair, and appended to her 
narrative the day of the month on which she had seen 
the mysterious vision. This account she sealed up in 
the presence of a witness and then deposited it in a 
place of security. 

Eventually the absent brother returned home, and 
naturally went to visit his sister. Lady Primrose 
inquired if, in the course of his wanderings, he had 
happened to see or hear anything of her husband. The 
young man only responded that he wished never to hear 
that detestable person's name mentioned. Pressed 
closely by his sister, however, he confessed at last 
that he had met Lord Primrose and under very strange 
circumstances. Whilst he was making a stay in Amster- 
dam he became acquainted with a very wealthy merchant 
whose only child, a beautiful girl, was the heiress of his 
enormous fortune. This merchant informed him that 
his daughter was engaged to a Scotchman of good 
position who had recently come to reside in Holland, 
and asked him, as a fellow-countryman of the bride- 
groom, to the forthcoming wedding. He went, but was 


a little late for the commencement of the ceremony, yet 
arrived, fortunately, just in time to prevent the marriage 
of the beautiful and amiable young Dutch girl to his 
own brother-in-law, Lord Primrose ! 

Lady Primrose had so far succumbed to the prevalent 
superstition of her time as to write down a full account 
of the vision she had beheld in the magic mirror, but 
she was so confounded and overcome when this wonder- 
ful confirmation of its truth was revealed to her that 
she almost fainted away. But one important fact had 
still to be ascertained. When did Lord Primrose's 
attempted marriage take place ? Her brother was fully 
enabled to answer this. Upon receiving his reply she 
took out a key, opened the drawer containing the 
account of her vision in the mirror, and, handing 
the manuscript to her brother, desired him to read it. 
He did so, and found that Lady Primrose's narrative 
not only tallied in every important particular with the 
scene he had taken part in, but, also, that it was dated 
on the day that her husband's attempted nuptials were 
interrupted in the way he had described ! 

A few words about Lady Primrose's career will not 
be out of place here. In 1709 her husband died, 
leaving her still young and beautiful. She had many 
good offers, but, more than dissatisfied with her experi- 
ence of the married state, she formed a resolution never 
to remarry. Among her suitors was the famous Earl of 
Stair, who for twenty years had made Edinburgh his 
place of residence. Lady Primrose preferred him to all 
her wooers, but even on his behalf could not be per- 


suaded to relinquish the comforts of widowhood. In 
order to change her resolution the Earl hit upon an 
expedient which, as one authority remarks, " certainly 
marks the age as one of little delicacy."' He bribed one 
of her servants to admit him into her dressing-room, 
the window of which looked out upon the High Street. 
At this window, when the morning was somewhat 
advanced, the Earl showed himself en dishabille to the 
passers-by. The fatal effect which this exhibition 
threatened to have upon the lady's reputation, induced 
her to accept Lord Stair for her second husband. As 
Countess of Stair the lady is said to have had a fairly 
happy life, especially after she had succeeded in weaning 
the Earl from over fondness for the bottle. In 1747 
she was left a widow for the second time, and in 
November 1759, after having long exercised sway over 
the first coteries of the Scottish capital, died there, at a 
very advanced age. 


A singular prophetic, or warning dream, is related 
and vouched for as " entirely authentic," by Dr. 
Abercrombie, in his work on Inquiries Concerning 
the Intellectual Powers. The Doctor, however, only 
gives the skeleton of the story and omits the names of 
the persons concerned. Lady Clerk, of Pennicuik, 
daughter of the Mr. D'Acre of the dream, communicated 


the tale more fully to Blackwood's Magazine, in a letter 
dated May 1, 1826, and beginning, " Being in company 
the other day when the conversation turned upon 
dreams, I related one, of which, as it happened to my 
own father, I can answer for the perfect truth.'" 

Even Lady Clerk's printed narrative, however, is in- 
complete, as it, also, gives the initials only of the names, 
but Mr. Dale Owen was successful in obtaining these 
names in full from a manuscript account of the whole 
affair by her ladyship, and he succeeded, also, in 
unearthing, from a contemporary newspaper, The 
Caledonian Mercury, the date of the accident referred 
to, and particulars of the whole occurrence. 

The anecdote is related by Mr. Dale Owen in the 
following terms : 

Major and Mrs. Griffith, of Edinburgh, then residing 
in the Castle, had received into their house their 
nephew, Mr. Joseph D'Acre, of Kirklinton, in the 
county of Cumberland a young gentleman who had 
come to the Scottish capital for the purpose of attending 
college, and had been specially recommended to his 
relatives' care. One afternoon Mr. D'Acre communi- 
cated to them his intention of joining some of his 
young companions on the morrow in a fishing-party to 
Inch-Keith; and to this no objection was made. 
During the ensuing night, however, Mrs. Griffith 
started from a troubled dream, exclaiming, in accents 
of terror, " The boat is sinking ! Oh, save them ! " 

Her husband ascribed this to apprehension on her 
part ; but she declared she had no uneasiness whatever 


about the fishing-party, and, indeed, had not thought 
about it. So she again composed herself to sleep. 
When, however, a similar dream was thrice repeated in 
the course of the night (and the last time presenting the 
image of the boat lost and the whole party drowned), 
she became seriously alarmed, threw on her dressing- 
gown, and, without waiting for morning, proceeded to 
her nephew's room. With some difficulty she persuaded 
him to relinquish his design, and to send his servant to 
Leith with an excuse. 

The morning was fine, and the fishing- party 
embarked. It consisted of Mr. Patrick Cumming, a 
merchant, Colin Campbell, shipmate, a boy named 
Cleland, nephew to Campbell, and two sailors. About 
3 o'clock a sudden squall arose from the south-west, 
the boat upset and foundered, and all were drowned 
except Campbell, who was picked up after being five 
hours in the water, almost dead with fatigue. This 
happened on the 7th of August, 1734, and the affair 
is narrated, so far as concerns the accident, in the 
Caledonian Mercury for the 12th of the same month. 


In the First Series of this collection of supernatural 
stones is given an account of the wonderful appa- 
ritional armies seen at Edge Hill some few months 
after the battle there between the King's forces and 
those of the Parliament. As then remarked, several 


well-authenticated instances are on record of such 
phantasmal appearances, but as yet no lucid or con- 
vincing explanation of the phenomenon has been given.* 
vn some cases these apparitions might be deemed a 
wonderfully realistic reproduction of real human beings 
at some distant place, a mirage produced by some 
natural law that we are not conversant with; but as 
regards the case of Edge Hill, such an explanation is 
valueless, the faces and figures of many of the com- 
batants killed in that engagement having been recognised 
by several spectators. 

In the following narrative, related in Ottway's col- 
lection of supernatural stories, and in several similar 
works, the events detailed are not so marvellous, nor so 
inexplicable as those of Edge Hill ; but, nevertheless, 
are worthy citation in an epitome of this kind. The tale 
is told thus : 

" As you wish to have an account of the vision 
which my father and grandfather saw in the neighbour- 
hood of this place, I will endeavour to comply with 
your request. I have heard it, with all its circum- 
stances, so often related by them both, when together, as 
well as by my father separately, since my grandfather's 
decease, that I am as fully convinced that they saw this 
vision, as if I had seen it myself. At the same time I 
must acknowledge that, however desirous I am to oblige 

Lady and you, I commit this account to writing 

with some degree of reluetance, well knowing how little 
credit is generally given, by the more intelligent classes 

* Vide, also, " Souter Fell," pp. 246-249. of this volume. 


of mankind, to a narrative of that kind, and how little 
it corresponds with the ordinary course of causes and 

" This vision was seen bv them about 3 o'clock 
in the afternoon of a very warm, clear sunshiny day, in 
the month of June or July, between the years 1746 and 
1753. I cannot go nearer to ascertain the year. My 
grandfather was then a farmer in Glenary (which you 
know is within four miles of this place), and my father, 
who was at that time a young unmarried man, resided in 
the family with him. 

" On the morning of the day above-mentioned, my 
grandfather having occasion to transact some business 
in Glenshiray, took my father along with him. They 
went there by crossing the hill which separates it from 
Glenary ; and their business in Glenshiray having been 
finished a little after mid-day, they came round by 
Inverary, in order to return home. 

" As soon as they came to Gairan Bridge, and had 
turned towards Inverness, they were very much surprised 
to behold a great number of men under arms, marching 
on foot towards them. At this time the foremost ranks 
were only advanced as far as Kilm alien. They were 
marching in regular order, and as closely as they could 
move, from that point of the new town near the Quay, 
where Captain Gillie's house now stands, along the 
shore and high road, and crossing the river Avay near 
the town, at or about the spot where the new bridge has 
been since built ; of the rear there appeared to be no 
end. The ground upon which the town now stands was 


then surrounded by a park wall. From the nature of 
the ground my father and grandfather could see no 
further than this wall ; and as the army was advancing 
in front, the rear as regularly succeeded, and advanced 
from the furthest verge of their view. 

" They stood a considerable time to observe this ex- 
traordinary sight, then walked slowly on, but stopped 
now and then, with their eyes constantly fixed on the 
objects before them. Meantime, the army continuing 
regularly to advance, they counted that it had fifteen 
or sixteen pairs of colours ; and they observed that the 
men nearest to them were marching upon the road, six 
or seven abreast, or in each line, attended by a number 
of women and children, both below and above the road, 
some of whom were carrvim ua cans and other imple 
ments or cookery, which, I am told, is customary on a 
march. They were clothed in red (but as to that par- 
ticular circumstance I do not recollect whether my 
grandfather mentioned it or not, though I know my 
father did), and the sun shone so bright that the gleam 
of their arms, which consisted of muskets and bayonets, 
sometimes dazzled their sight. They also observed 
between Kilmalien and the Salmon Draught, an animal 
resembling a deer or a horse, in the middle of a crowd 
of soldiers, who were, as they conjectured, stabbing and 
pushing it forward with their bayonets. 

"My father, who had never seen an army before, 
naturally put a number of questions to my grandfather 
(who had served in the Argyleshire Highlanders in 
assisting to suppress the rebellion of 1745) concerning 



the probable route and destination of the army which 
was now advancing towards them, and of the number 
of men it seemed to consist of. My grandfather replied 
that ' he supposed it had come from Ireland, and had 
]anded at Kyntyre, and that it was proceeding to Eng- 
land ; and that, in his opinion, it was more numerous 
than the army on both sides at the battle of Culloden. , 
My father, having particularly remarked that the rear 
ranks were continually running forward in order to 
overtake those who were before them, and inquiring into 
the reason, my grandfather told him that was always 
the case with the rear ; that the least obstacle stopped 
and threw them behind, which necessarily, and in a 
still greater degree, retarded the march of those who 
were behind them, and obliged them to come forward 
until they had recovered their own places again. And 
he therefore advised my father, if he went into the army, 
to endeavour, if possible, to get into the front rank, 
which always marched with leisure and ease, while those 
in the rear were generally kept running in the manner 
he had seen. 

" My father and grandfather were now come to the 
Thorn Bush, between the Gairan Bridge and the gate 
of the Deer Park, and at the same time the rear of the 
army had advanced very near to the gate. And as the 
road forms a right angle at that gate, and the front of 
the army was then directly opposite to them, they had, 
of course, a better opportunity of observing it minutely. 
The van-guard, they then observed, consisted of a party 
of forty or fifty men, preceded by an officer on foot. 


At a little distance behind them another officer ap- 
peared, riding upon a grey dragoon-horse. He was the 
only person they observed on horseback, and from his 
appearance and station in the march they considered 
him as the commander-in-chief. He had on a gold- 
laced hat, and a blue hussar-cloak, with wide, open, 
loose sleeves, all lined with red. He also wore boots 
and spurs ; the rest of his dress they could not see. 
My father took such particular notice of him, that he 
often declared he would know him perfectly well if he 
ever saw him again. Behind this officer the rear of the 
army marched all in one body, so far as they observed, 
but attended by women and children, as I mentioned 

" My father's curiosity being now sufficiently gratified, 
he represented to my grandfather that these men, who 
were advancing towards them, would force them to go 
along with them, or use them otherwise ill ; and he 
therefore proposed that they should both go out of 
their way by climbing over a stone dyke which fences 
the Deer Park from the high-road. To this my grand- 
father objected, saying that as he was a middle-aged 
man, and had seen some service, he believed they would 
not give any trouble to him, but at the same time he 
told my father, that as he was a young man, and they 
might possibly take him along with them, he might go 
out of the way or not, as he thought fit. Upon this my 
father instantly leaped over the dyke. He then walked 
behind it for a little time ; but when he arrived near the 
clumps, he looked back to observe the motions of the 



army, and found, to his utter astonishment, that they 
were all vanished, not a soul of them was to be seen. 

" As soon as he had recovered from his surprise, 
he returned to my grandfather, and cried out, 'What 
has become of the men ? ' My grandfather, who did 
not seem to have paid them much attention after my 
father left him, then observed also that they had dis- 
appeared, and answered with an equal degree of aston 
ishment, ' that he could not tell.' 

"As they proceeded on their way to Inverary, he 
recommended my father to keep what they had seen 
secret, lest they should make themselves ridiculous, for 
that no person would believe they had seen a vision so 
extraordinary ; at the same time he told him that though 
he (my grandfather) might not live to see it, my father 
might possibly live to see the vision realised. 

" This conversation was scarcely ended, when they met 
one Stewart, an old man who then resided in Glenshiray, 
going home, and driving a horse before him. This, as 
they believed, was the same animal they had before 
observed surrounded by a crowd. My father, notwith- 
standing the admonition he had just received, asked 
Stewart what had become of the people who were 
travelling with him. Stewart, not understanding the 
drift of the question, answered that nobody had been 
in company with him since he left Inverary, but that 
he never travelled in so warm a day, that the air was 
so close and sultry that he was scarcely able to breathe, 
and that his horse had become so weak and feeble, that 
he was obliged to alight and drive it before him. 

NEWARK. 631 

" The account of this vision was communicated by 
my father and grandfather, not only to me, but to 
many others in this place and neighbourhood, it being 
scarcely possible that so extraordinary an occurrence 
could long be concealed. It is no doubt extremely 
difficult to account for it, but no person acquainted 
with my father or grandfather ever supposed that either 
of them was capable of inventing such a story; and, 
accordingly, as far as I can understand, no person to 
whom they told it ever doubted that they told the truth. 
My grandfather died several years ago ; my father died 
within these two years ; but neither of them saw their 
vision realised, although, indeed, my father had strong 
expectations of seeing it realised a few years before his 
death, particularly at the time of the Irish rebellion, 
and of the last threatened invasion of the French." 


Many quaint old customs linger in the towns as well as 
in the country districts of England, and some of them 
are so ancient that their origin is lost in obscurity. A 
singular instance of such customs as are alluded to is 
discoverable at Newark-on -Trent, but, unlike some 
others, tradition, or rather history, is well able to 
account for its existence. On the 11th of March every 
year, penny loaves are given away in this place, at the 


Town Hall, to all such poor persons as choose to 
apply for them. This custom originated in the follow- 
ing way. 

During the bombardment of Newark by the Parlia- 
mentarian troops under Oliver Cromwell, a certain 
Alderman Clay dreamed on three successive nights that 
his house had taken fire. Impressed by the persistence 
and vividness of these dreams, the worthy magistrate 
removed with his family to another residence, and a few 
days later, on the 11th of March, sure enough his 
vacated house was burnt down by the besiegers' fire. 
In gratitude for what he considered his miraculous pre- 
servation, Alderman Clay, by his will, dated the 11th 
of December 1694, left two hundred pounds in trust to 
the Mayor and Aldermen of Newark for the time being. 
The interest of half this money has to be paid to the 
vicar annually, conditionally upon his preaching an 
appropriate sermon, and the interest of the other half 
has to be expended in bread for distribution among the 
poor in the way specified above. 


In the pages of this work, as is seen, are some ex- 
amples of very wonderful dreams: prophetic dreams, 
warning dreams, double dreams, or dreams simul- 
taneously occurring to two persons, and dreams of clis- 


covery. To the last-named species may be assigned 
the strange and oft-alluded-to story of the Wad eb ridge 
murder. The murder was one replete with common- 
place horrors, and would not stand out from the usual 
category of such crimes but for the marvellous manner 
in which it was, according to the evidence before us, 
supernaturally displayed before a person some hundreds 
of miles away. As the account of this curious cause 
celebre is given very circumstantially by Dr. Clement 
Carlyon (in his Early Years and Late Reflections) , 
and as, after sifting the case thoroughly, he avers " its 
unquestionable authenticity," it is better to quote it 
in his exact words. Dr. Carlyon's account is as fol- 
lows : 

On the evening of the 8th of February 1840, Mr. 
Nevell Norway, a Cornish gentleman, was cruelly mur- 
dered by two brothers, of the name of Lightfoot, on his 
way from Bodmin to Wadebridge, the place of his resi- 
dence. At that time his brother, Mr. Edmund Norway, 
was in the command of a merchant vessel, the Orient, 
on her voyage from Manilla to Cadiz ; and the following 
is his own account of a dream which he had on the 
night when his brother was murdered : 

" Ship Orient, from Manilla to Cadiz. 

"February 8, 1840. 

"About 7.30 p.m., the island of St. Helena N.N.W., 
distant about seven miles; shortened sail and rounded 
to with the ship's head to the eastward ; at eight, set the 
watch and went below; wrote a letter to my brother, 


Nevell Norway. About twenty minutes or a quarter 
before ten o'clock, went to bed ; fell asleep, and dreamt 
I saw two men attack my brother and murder him. 
One caught the horse by the bridle, and snapped a 
pistol twice, but I heard no report ; lie then struck him 
a blow, and he fell off the horse. They struck him 
several blows, and dragged him by the shoulders across 
the road and left him. In my dream, there was a house 
on the left-hand side of the road. At four o'clock I 
was called, and went on deck to take charge of the 
ship. I told the second officer, Mr. Henry Wren, that 
I had had a dreadful dream namely, that my brother 
Nevell, was murdered by two men on the road from St. 
Columb to Wadebridge, but that I felt sure it could 
not be there, as the house there would be on the right- 
hand side of the road ; so that it must have been some- 
where else. He replied : * Don't think anything about 
it ; you west-country people are so superstitious. You 
will make yoursen miseraoie tne remainder of the 
voyage.' He then left the general orders and went 
below. It was one continued dream, from the time 
I fell asleep until I was called, at four o'clock in the 

" Edmund Norway, 
" Chief Officer, Ship Orient." 

Thus ends the Captain's account of his dream. 

The confession of William Lightfoot, one of the 
assassins who did really murder Mr. Norway, and 
who was executed, together with his brother, for the 


crime, at Bodmin, on the 13th of April 1840, is as 
follows : 

" I went to Bodmin last Saturday week, the 8th 
instant (February 8, 1840), and in returning I met my 
brother James at the head of Dummer Hill. It was 
dim like. We came on the turnpike-road all the way 
till we came to the house near the spot where the 
murder was committed. We did not go into the house, 
but hid ourselves in a field. My brother knocked Mr. 
Norway down ; he snapped a pistol at him twice, and it 
did not go off. He then knocked him down with the 
pistol. I was there along with him. Mr. Norway was 
struck while on horseback. It was on the turnpike-road 
between Pencarron Mill and the directing-post towards 
Wadebridge. I cannot say at what time of the night it 
was. We left the body in the water, on the left side 
of the road coming to Wadebridge. We took some 
money in a purse, but I did not know how much. 
My brother drew the body across the road to the 

The evidence of various witnesses called at the trial 
of the assassins proved that the murder must have 
been committed between ten and eleven at night. 

Dr. Carlyon, in concluding his account of this dream, 
remarks, " It will be seen that Mr. Edmund Norway, in 
relating his dream the following morning to his ship- 
mate, observed that the murder could not have been 
committed on the St. Columb road, because the house, 
in going thence to Wadebridge, is on the right hand, 
whereas the house was, in his dream, on the left. Now, 


this circumstance, however apparently trivial, tends 
somewhat to enhance the interest of the dream, without 
in the least impugning its fidelity ; for such fissures 
are characteristic of these sensorial impressions, which 
are altogether involuntary, and bear a much nearer 
relation to the productions of the daguerreotype than 
to those of the portrait-painter, whose lines are at his 
command.' 1 

63 7 



In the following extraordinary account of an apparition 
heard, if not seen, by two persons at once, the exact 
locality where the appearance took place is not stated, 
but the story is well known and often alluded to, and, 
therefore, deserves publication here. The Dr. Blomberg, 
to whom the tale refers, is said to have been a celebrated 
metropolitan clergyman, in the early part of this cen- 
tury. When Blomberg was a boy, his father, Captain 
Blomberg, was stationed with his regiment in Mar- 

One day the Captain was ordered to a distant part of 
the island with some important dispatches. The bar- 
racks at head-quarters, where the absent man had been 
residing, were just then very crowded, and, in con- 
sequence, the officers had to share their apartments with 
one another, in order that all might be housed within 
the barracks. One night, shortly after Blomberg's de- 
parture, the door of one of these apartments was heard 


to open, and the noise awakened the two occupants. 
One of them, a friend of the absent Captain, raised 
himself in bed, and, to his intense astonishment, beheld 
Blomberg approach the bedside, and draw back the mos- 
quito curtain. 

" Why, Blomberg," said he, " what on earth has 
brought you back ? " 

Blomberg looked at him for a few seconds, with a 
melancholy and abstracted air, but at last said dis- 

"I died this night, and I have come to ask you to 
take charge of my little orphan boy." 

He then gave his friend the address of the child's re- 
latives in London, and asked him to have the boy sent 
to them at once, adding that the papers necessary to 
establish the boy's claims to some property would be 
found in a certain drawer which he designated. This 
communication made, the visitant departed, closing the 
door after him with an audible sound, and leaving the 
friend deeply perplexed. Calling out to the occupant 
of the other bed, he asked him if he had heard anyone 
in the room. 

" Yes/' was the reply, " was it not Blomberg ? What 
did he want?" 

The first officer then asked his companion if he had 
not heard what Blomberg had said, but he answered 
that he had merely heard the sound of his voice. At 
breakfast next day the two officers recounted the extra- 
ordinary affair to their companions, and were, of course, 
heartily laughed at for their pains. In the evening, 

CAPTAIN blombebg's apparition. 639 

however, a message arrived that put a speedy stop to 
their merriment. Captain Blomberg, so they were in- 
formed, having given way to depression of spirits in his 
solitude, had fallen into a fever, and, on the very night 
and at the very hour in which the apparition had 
appeared to his friends, had succumbed to the disorder. 

The friend to whom the apparition appeared was 
deeply impressed, and noted down the strange communi- 
cation which he had received. He sent the boy over to 
London, to the stated address, which proved to be that 
of the relatives ; and had search made in the drawer 
designated by Blomberg's apparition, and there, sure 
enough, were found the deeds which proved the child's 
title to the property. 

This wonderful affair acquired a widespread notoriety 
and at last reached the ears of Queen Charlotte. Her 
Majesty was greatly interested, and at once ordered the 
child to be received into the royal nursery, where, 
indeed, he was brought up under the direct care and 
superintendence of his royal benefactress. 

Dr. Blomberg, it is stated, was remarkably lax in his 
ideas of the Sabbath, being so devoted, according to 
report, to his fiddling, that he kept a greased bow for 
Sunday playing. But it generally follows, whenever 
anyone has acquired a reputation for some " uncanny " 
connection or the other, rumour attributes all kinds 
of unconventional things to him or her. 



Post-mortem assignations are among the most frequent 
and best-known form of ghostly visitations. The in- 
stances recorded of dead men keeping appointments 
made with living friends are so numerous that it is eas' 1 
to select from them many unimpeachable cases. Sue 
a case is that given in the biography of William Smellie, 
author of the Philosophy of Natural History. Smellie's 
most intimate acquaintance was William Greenlaw, a 
man of great probity, and who, after having gone 
through the usual theological studies, and taken orders 
in the Church of Scotland, for certain conscientious 
reasons refused a living when it was offered to him, 
and sought his subsistence by teaching the learned 

In the course of their long and close friendship 
Smellie and Greenlaw entered into a solemn compact 
in writing, and even formally sealed it, and signed it 
with their blood, whereby both mutually engaged, that 
whoever died first should return, if possible, and give 
the survivor an account of the spiritual world. A pro- 
viso was made that if the deceased did not return 
within the expiration of twelve months, it was to be 
concluded that he was unable, or not permitted, to 
come back. 

Greenlaw died on the 26th of June 1774. When the 
anniversary of his death drew near Smellie became exceed- 
ingly anxious about the expected visit, and lost several 


successive nights' sleep, in watching for his deceased 
friend's reappearance. At last, one evening, worn out 
with fatigue. Smellie would appear to have fallen asleep 
in his easy chair. The apparition of Greenlaw, clad all 
in spectral white, now appeared to him, and in a solemn 
tone informed him, " That he had experienced great 
difficulties in procuring permission to return to this 
arth, according to their agreement ; that he was now in 
a much better world thau the one he had left; and yet 
that the hopes and wishes of its inhabitants were by no 
means satisfied, as, like those of the lower world, they 
still looked forward in the hope of eventually reaching 
a still happier state of existence." 

This spiritual communication is said to have com- 
pletely satisfied William Smellie, and to have quite 
removed from his mind all further anxiety on the subject 
of the agreement. He related the whole story, and 
showed the blood-signed agreement, to the eccentric but 
learned Lord Monboddo ; that nobleman observed there 
could not be the slightest reasonable doubt or hesi- 
tation in believing that Greenlaw did actually appear. 



3 * 

Date Due 

NOV 27 '7 

fte T7| 


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Library Bureat 

i Cat. N*. 1137 

tra *tions 

BF 1475 . 15 1897 

Ingram, John Henry, 1842 

The haunted homes and family 
traditions of Great Britain